Today I cracked open our book club’s current selection, which we’ll discuss over dinner in June, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Just in case you don’t know, this is a novel partially set in my beloved home state of Oklahoma, during the brutal Depression and Dust Bowl. It follows the struggle of a native Oklahoma family who suffers from all the ramifications of the agricultural and economic failures of that time. This was a century ago, but how many bells are ringing in your heart right now?
I sat down to start this papery adventure after a morning of cruising junk and antique shops that were as lovely as they were tiny and unique, spending a few dollars on perfectly frivolous luxuries. I bought a heavy turquoise pendant handing from an old shoelace; a super long chain necklace with a kitschy locked heart charm at the bottom that desperately wants to be gold when it grows up; a medium sized but tarnished silver tray with wooden handles, the kind you use to serve breakfast in bed or maybe decorate a vintage-themed outdoor wedding which is coming up in seven days; three threadbare cotton handkerchiefs; a set of pink seashell-encrusted salt and pepper shakers from Florida; and an opulently matted and framed oil painting for my dining room. None of these things were expensive (though the oil painting really should have been), but I acknowledge that none of them are really necessary, either. My life is brimming with undeserved luxury, and I know it.
In addition to the material bounty, it happens that I soaked up the first four chapters of Grapes of Wrath while soft, cool rain fell in steady showers all over this grand land and flowers bloomed in every available container.