It was one of those days that seem rare anymore. Mols and I had a few hours free, so we decided to stop into TJ Maxx. We had looked through Mol’s sizes and not found anything we just had to have, so we headed back to housewares to take a peek at the random assortment of goodies. As we passed the shoe section, I saw her. She seemed so out of place there. The chaos of merchandise touched by too many people and stacked with abandon on the end cap couldn’t camouflage her beauty. Even in the blinking florescent lights she glistened in her auburn glory. Her Italian sophistication was palpable. Her strength undeniable. She was Ruffoni. She was expensive. She was out of my budget. She was a lidded copper pot–her finial-handle, a vined pumpkin.
She was discount priced at $349.00. In this season of life, a pot of that price is not an option, even if it can be compared to $583.00 regular retail. And while I think she might have been worth every penny of either price, she would sit there another day. But before I moved on, I took her picture and sent a message to Jonesy, letting him know such beauty existed in the world. I also posted the picture to Facebook with the caption, “Please help me find the right words to convince (Jonesy) that I REALLY need this piece of art in my kitchen.” Forty-one people responded. Mostly in agreement that she was beautiful. Mostly in agreement that she was expensive. It was a fun discussion. It was November 19.
In January, I found myself once again at TJ Maxx; Apparently it is my go-to place if I am between appointments. Again, with Molly, we looked through the clothes and headed back to Housewares. We wanted to look at coffee mugs. There she was. Not in the original location I first saw her, but now tucked away in an aisle. With her, a curved friend. I stopped and admired her once again. She really was beautiful. I noticed her sticker. She had a red discount sticker. She was marked down $100. All the friends who shared in the original conversations had to know about this new development. But first, I had to text Jonesy. He replied with a quick, “Valentine’s Day gift?” Had he lost his mind? Was he messing with me? While $249 was a pretty amazing price, it was still very much out of our budget. I texted back, “Yes, but No. That’s just crazy!” A quick picture to Facebook, “Y’all, it is marked down $100.” And once again, the consensus was, it was beautiful. Justification for the expense were offered with good humor. Suggestions for using it to sell edibles, to finance the purchase were amusing since my cooking lacks much to be desired. A few suggested I offer what I was willing to pay to the manager just to see what would happen. Once again, we left empty handed. However, the conversation that followed online with many friends, sharing in the beauty and appreciation of the craftsmanship of this fancy cookware was entertaining.
A week later, my friend Alicia, sent me a text with a picture of the pot and a question:” Is this your pot? It is marked down another $100.” Marked down to $149.00, the purchase of the pot seemed possible now. I texted Jonesy, sharing the news with the request he meet me to go look at it. I had set in my mind a very specific, unmovable amount I would be willing to pay for the pot. I had done a little research and learned that when items are marked down to a red sticker there could be a few more markdowns. The final markdown comes on a yellow sticker. When we arrived, the pot was still priced in red. I placed her in my cart and headed to find the manager of the store.
I chatted with her about the pot, sharing the story of first falling in love with her back in November. I shared how she had been the topic of great conversation. I then explained I would love to buy her and asked if she would give me the yellow sticker price to consider. She said, “Let me see what I can do?” She disappeared into he back of the store and we waited. She walked forward, bypassed us slipping behind the cashier’s desk. She was affixing new stickers onto the price tag. When she walked toward us, she was carrying two pots, the one I had my eye on and another, just like her with a curvy bottom. She handed them to me and smiled. The stickers were below my affixed price. I looked at Jonesy and smiled.
“So, we are buying the pot tonight?” He grinned.
I looked at him again.
“We’re buying both of the pots tonight, aren’t we?”
Giddy, I walked to the cashier with both pots. Excited to purchase these beautiful vessels which I am sure will be passed down to my grandchildren’s children. But mostly excited to share my good fortune with my friends who had been on this two-month journey.
Once outside in the car, I held up the pots and Jonesy snapped a picture. I posted to Facebook. The responses flooded in and included:
“I so hoped you would get her!”
“I just wanted to buy that pot for you so badly!”
You may wonder why I am writing this story about a copper pot. You are probably also wondering why you continue to read a story about a copper pot. But this story is not about the pot. Instead it is about the beauty of friendship, which shines more brilliantly than the copper. It is about the support of friends who love you and want you to have the desires of your heart, even if they seem frivolous and silly. It is about celebrating with others in the little things in life as well as the bigger things. You can buy pots just like mine at several fine retailers for a few hundred dollars, but my pots are priceless because they shine with the friendship that made them more than just an item sitting on a shelf. Every meal that is cooked in them will be seasoned with the love and support that journeyed with them to my stove. And as I pass them down to my girls someday, it will be with the story of friendship and a prayer that they will have a community who share in their lives, even when the things that are catching their fancy for the moment are just copper pots. And I hope they are able to taste and see that it is very, very good.