*The story below is fictional. The picture is of my friend, Janet's beautiful Le Creuset Dutch Oven.
Sarah is a collector of many beautiful things and today she is on a treasure hunt. The pursuit of this particular item has, over the weeks and months, turned into an obsession. She's looked everywhere and for a very long time. She's gone back to the best places again and again, only to be disappointed and start over another day. And now she's lusting after it. She knows, of course, just exactly what she will do when she finally finds it. She can see it in her mind's eye, she's planned every detail.
She'll bake Julia Child's French bread. She can see herself lining the oven with tiles to simulate a baker’s oven just like Julia did. And while the bread bakes she'll drop a brick into a pan of water in the oven’s base to create a burst of steam. The combination of the hot tiles and the steam will make for a perfect crunchy crust. Julia wrote after using this method, that is was, “Like the sun in all its glory suddenly breaking through the shades of gloom.” This is exactly how Sarah feels about finding her pot. Her luck is about to change too, she just knows it.
Today, having exhausted all her usual haunts once again, she makes one last stop at the Goodwill on Speers Road. It's a long shot, she knows, but she goes for it anyway. The clerk at the checkout counter greets her with a forced smile. Her blue apron is grease stained and her name tag is crooked. She straightens it as if she's read Sarah's mind; it says 'HELLO, I'm Monica.' Monica looks bored and very, very sad. Sarah makes her way to the back of the shop, where they keep the good stuff. She roams the aisles, up and down, her roving eyes peeled and her anticipation building, and then it's there.
The Le Creuset Dutch Oven. The porcelain enameled, cast iron pot from France, of her dreams; in aqua. So expensive that the mere thought of buying it retail has the potential to trigger a raging migraine. She cannot believe it. Here, in the backroom of the Goodwill, where many, many ugly things come to die, her journey is about to end, finally and in the best way possible. Sarah does a slow scan of the small space, she looks over her left shoulder, then her right. She's alone. She approaches it, places one trembling hand on the lid and closes her eyes. Its cool, smooth surface quickens her pulse. She may cry. When she opens her eyes, a woman is starring at her from the other side of the open shelving. Sarah picks up her pot (it weighs a ton) and holds it close to her heart. She is fully present in the moment, realizing with a lump in her throat that she, Sarah Ross, is about to be joined to nearly a century of culinary history and craftsmanship. The woman on the other side of the shelving smiles and walks away.
Sarah lugs her beloved to the checkout counter, pays Monica cash, and races home.