The Magic of the Green Velvet Case
inMay 20, 2011 - 2:31pm
A cigar-shaped green velvet case, worn with years and thread bare at the edges, sat closed amidst a group of old dusty bottles, a lusterless arrangement from days gone by. My initial response was a quizzical frown, fearing that the morning’s trip may have been a wasted one. But, conditioned by the antique trader’s creed of leaving no box unopened, I reached for the case and gently pressed the front lever as I carefully lifted the lid.
Tucked safely inside on a green velvet bed was an antique mother of pearl letter opener and matching dip pen, its delicate gold point resembling a lady’s slender finger, hushing the most private of thoughts that once flowed from its tip. Like a Genie’s lamp that had just been rubbed, suddenly the old velvet case seemed to come to life, releasing its magic with a story that now filled my imagination. It’s not often that estate sale treasures speak to me, but in that moment, I “knew” the case that now held my attention once held the message of another’s heart. I imagined it as a gift to a young maiden from her betrothed, soon to head off to an uncertain fate. As I held the tapered pen, the glistening mother of pearl handle beckoned me to caress and twirl it, drawing me further into its rich fantasies with its spiraling golden thread.
Needless to say, I plucked that green velvet gem from that “lusterless arrangement” and now have it prominently displayed in my own living room. Of course, I can’t be certain of the true history of the green velvet case, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters most is that the stories from the past are carried into the present, bringing with them inspiration for tomorrow’s search. With luck, we find the gems that not only feed our imagination, but breathe new life into a treasure of old. At that moment, the circle of magic is complete, awaiting the next imaginative journey.