We had only come for the headboards, two depression-era wooden slabs, simply-made and painted butter-yellow with real linkia starfish glued to the corners. Advertised for $70, when we got to Fishes and Loaves thrift store in Beaufort, NC by a miracle they were now $50.
Then I saw a box of 6 vintage Revere Ware pots and pans, all lids present and accounted for, jumbled into a worn cardboard box. The black marker letters read "$35. Firm."
"Okay," I said, "I'll take them. But I don't want the Farber Ware pot. I'll pay the same."
"You don't want the BIG pot?" said the fisher-wife turned thrift store keeper, her rugged, salt-creased Down East face showing concern. "Then it's $20." We paid $30.
When I got them home, I started polishing and cleaning, massaging the copper bottoms with liquid metal cleaner. The small pots were dirtier, harder used. By the time the women are old, they are cooking for one and they only use the smallest pots. I thought about the owner of these pots and pans, now mine for a song because their owner is gone. I thought of my own mother and her own prized Revere Ware.
I scrubbed hard to make the copper and steel shine like new.