You might think that when two people have as many collections as we do, it would be impossible to pick one absolute favorite item. (If you need a refresher, just read our Blackbird 100 post from a few months ago--creating that list was ridiculously difficult.) But, for the other Blackbird girl, it is very cut and dried. She knows exactly what her favorite thing is, and it is doubtful that any other item will ever fill that spot. (Now, picking the number two item is a different matter entirely. It's like trying to make a list of your top five songs. It's easy to get the top four, and then you think of thirty for that last slot.) This brings me to the sacred, all-powerful, most precious...red bowls.
Before we became roommates, we worked together while both of us were in college. That's how we met. When she graduated and got an offer to share a house with two other girls in Raleigh, I offered to help her pack (I'm nice like that). I showed up at her apartment after work, newspaper in hand, and got to work. It was my first real introduction to her collections, because I am generally too antisocial to go to people's houses, so this was only my second or third time at her place. This is when I met the cocktail collection, and the thermos collection, and the various kitchen-y junk collection. I was a happy camper, because one of my secret favorite things to do is wrap stuff in newspaper and pack it into boxes (it's true--I'm really good at it). We were making great progress, and then she got quiet.
"We have to be really careful with these," she said. "These are my absolute favorites, and they cannot get broken." It was a very intense moment. But, as someone who has her own serious hangups about certain precious items (ask anyone about my 1920s bed...), I don't judge. I just said okay. And then I tried to take them from her, and she didn't want to let go. There was a weird transitional moment where she followed the bowls, cradling them until they were safely settled on the countertop, three feet away from where they had started the journey. Her jaw was tense. I grabbed some newspaper, and she watched like a hawk as I wrapped each bowl. Luckily, I am a stellar wrapper, so I made the grade.
The red bowls, which usually carry the emphasis of capitalization (The Red Bowls) when discussed, are a set of 3 mixing bowls by Universal. She got them at the Raleigh Flea Market during her senior year of college, and it was love at first sight. According to her, they are the perfect shade of red. Also, unlike most mixing bowl sets that we find, they are tall and skinny instead of short and wide, so they take up less room and look cooler. They are also perfect. She paid $18 for the set, which, at the time, was a ridiculous price for her to pay for anything at the flea market (nothing wrong with being cheap!). She didn't even flinch at the price.
Since then, The Red Bowls have held the highest position in her household. When it's time to move, they get wrapped individually in a super-thick cocoon of newspaper, and then they are given their own box, which is then labeled accordingly and given a place of honor in someone's lap or surrounded by pillows for the drive to the new place. If there was ever a fire (please no!), she would be scrambling through the smoke to save the red bowls. They are never used. Never.
I might have loose morals when it comes to my junk (I have so many favorites!), but she is hopelessly devoted to those bowls. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is junk love at its purest.