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Drink beer from Baccarat?


Drink beer from Baccarat? Why not? The deep amber color of a dark German beer with its rich head of foam is certainly more inviting. And what better way to enjoy, albeit on the tube, the playoff games this January. Football on TV in an antique shop? You bet, I remember watching Y. A. Tittle play while in high school. Any one that knows me or has visited MiRIAMGREEN during the season, knows that while Gilbert&Sullivan may be  playing on the Bose stereo in the main gallery, an old diminutive (10") black&white RCA with very poor reception, is hooked up in the book room, where I am usually glued to the game. Any game. College or NFL, I love football, love watching a good game. But just football. And football is almost over. We have already passed the best weekends-multiple games on Saturday and Sunday; we have just three games left, not counting the pro-bowl. I am already in withdrawal.

So this past weekend, when two teams I really like played each other, my conflicted loyalties notwithstanding, my eye fell upon these wafer thin crystal goblets in a display case. I had an uneven number set of wondrously delicate Baccarat (in the Montaigne Optic pattern, never used, still wrapped with yellow newspapers from the 1930s when I unpacked them). Montaigne Optic is a pattern still in production because of its enormous appeal, though you can tell a stem, even a Baccarat glass, that was blown yesterday from  one blown seventy-five years ago. I had showed these glasses several times to people, always marveling at their elegant fluidity, their sound, their feel. Remembering when I first unpacked the 26 pieces of assorted sizes and washed them, o so carefully, that they were literally alive in the sink. I decided to retire a single water goblet -to enjoy my beer.

We have all been reminded by events of this past September how precious life truly is, how fragile we are, and that time never stops. Perhaps it is this fragility that makes us appreciate the antique, something made in previous centuries that becomes a bridge from the past to the present. And here in our present we should use them--with some  reservations*--all the time, rather than on occasion.

If you collect something meant to be used, use it. What a pleasure to share your passion and treasures with your intimate and extended family. Not just entertaining. While daily use of antiques demands a heightened sense of presence, as in PAY ATTENTION ALWAYS, it becomes second nature to live with your collections. What better way to teach children an appreciation of art and history, and an etiquette of responsibility, than to live with antiques. Those who collect "antiques-of-the- table" can appreciate the elegance of setting a table with vintage china, glassware, sterling, etc. Isn't this appreciation well worth the extra time and attention needed in careful clean up? And if something breaks, so what, you find another. Isn't the chase the greater part of a true passion of collecting?

Delight of life takes many forms-family, sports, travel, hobby, career. Delight is an antidote to vexation, the opposite of a head-ache. Delight is an active not a passive state, one that offers 'charge with electricity'. Delight is to be captured, transported even. Beauty is what delights the eye. We all need and profit from our delight. The collector who delights in their collections daily, by appreciation, and by use, has a special appreciation of time, time of the object, that is an inseparable personality of their antiques. Time does not stop so make full use of all of it. Eating and drinking from
your antiques is

  Editor’s note: Susan Alon, proprietor of MiRIAMGREEN Antiquarian Bookshop & Gallery, in her former life was Head of Special Collections at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis and Secretary to the Historical Collections, Yale School of Medicine. She is a rare book consultant for Lyman Allyn Art Museum (New London) and a certified appraiser. Locally she offers appraisal workshops on books and is available for Library Friends’ groups seeking to raises funds with an appraisal event. If you are interested in arranging a library or community event, contact her at 88 East Main Street, Clinton, 860-664-4200.  


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