Oh, I DID buy stuff, don't get me wrong, but it was mostly of the gently used and bargain attic variety. I bought some little side tables and a vase here and a mirror there. The mirror in our hallway was won at auction (much later) as well as an awesome set of tiny silver salt & pepper shakers that see a surprising amount of use for dinner parties. And I bought a bed. A beautiful, black walnut, double bed with machine-turned posts. I love that bed so much that I won't give it up, even though it's really a bit too small for two people. Anders indulges me, thank goodness.
My parents were into Moorcroft and art glass, but I couldn't afford any of the really nice stuff. I LOVE Moorcroft, though. If you have any and ever consider ditching it, let me know. I'll take it off your hands for a reasonable price. The result of all this is that I have an abiding love of rummaging around in junk shops. I rarely get to indulge this pleasure because there aren't that many around here, and whenever we're traveling, my family RESISTS my blandishments to just stop for a minute. Strange.
ANYWAY, back in the day, it was nearing Christmas of 1992, and of course I had my eyes peeled for gifts early on, because I pride myself on finding the PERFECT gift for people. The details are hazy now, but somewhere, I scored BIG. I found a giant green ceramic frog, mounted on a pea-green base, with a lamp stand in it. The lamp had a tiny little lampshade: the word ludicrous sprang to mind. Also: AWESOME. And I knew immediately who was destined to receive AND SURELY LOVE the frog lamp forever: my brother, John.
Cue insane giggling. Because I am hilarious. Who wouldn't want a frog lamp?? Actually, since he is covered all over with bumps, he's probably a toad in reality. But toad lamp just doesn't have the same ring to it. And he made a great receptacle for a few of the life-size plastic flies that I had leftover from a college pranking spree (they're a great way to freak out your roommates if you put one in the butter dish).
Come Christmas Day, and the unwrapping of the GREATEST! PRESENT! EVER! and my brother was actually caught speechless, for possibly the first time in his life. BONUS! Bwahahaaa! Isn't he GREAT?!
So, that happened and the years passed, and John moved around in his job as a ski rep, and eventually he met Simone and moved to Germany to be with her. And he left practically all his belongings behind, in my mom's basement, including the frog lamp, for some UNFATHOMABLE reason. Over the years, Mom has brought some of the stuff to him, on her visits to Europe, but inexplicably (!) the frog lamp stayed behind.
Last summer, John & Simone had a baby, as you may remember. And they asked me to be Sammo's godmother, and of course, I said yes. I knew, however, that I would have to find the perfect baptism gift. And I got an idea. An awful idea. I got a wonderful, awful idea!
Luckily, I have a family who loves a good joke, so I enlisted my mom and my sister for help. I persuaded my mom to HAND CARRY the frog in her luggage when she came over in July. And my sister helped me search for the perfect ceramic BABY FROG because if John was now a dad, the frog lamp had to be, too! It's really rather frightening how many ceramic baby frog figurines are available out there in the Interwebs.
Our criteria was strict: our baby frog had to be TASTEFUL, and realistic. No googly-eyed cartoon frogs for us. Our baby frog had to match the...gravitas...of his father. I think it goes without saying that I spent the better part of 2011 cackling to myself imagining the expression on my brother's face the second time around (while studiously avoiding all thought of Simone's probable reaction). HEE!! Sarah found 2 excellent frogs and sent them both to me because she couldn't decide which was best. Mom bought a NEW lampshade, a bigger one thankfully, for the lamp. After the frog lamp arrived, Anders rewired the lamp with a European plug. And the kids helped pick the winning baby frog and we glued him front and center.
And then I had to NOT GIGGLE every time I talked to my brother for the next several months. The baptism was finally scheduled for the first weekend in December and we booked our trip there and, like Mom, HAND CARRIED the giant frog. I wonder what the airport security scanner guys made of him as he went by on their monitors. HEH! The evening after the baptism, after the "official" baptism gifts had been given (and of course, I managed to not get any pictures of that present, either, and it was ALSO PERFECT) and Simone's family had left, Anders and Martin distracted John while Karin and I went out to the car and got the frog. He had slipped off his base, but we had no time for re-gluing: the moment was upon us!
Every time I pointed out the baby frog and saw the look on John's face, I cracked up again. :D
It's not often one can top oneself as well as this, I have to say. And the best part? It's SAMMY'S FROG LAMP now! A new generation of AWESOME!