Seriously, though, I've given a considerable deal of thought to how in the world I'll manage this place when I'm old(er). There's a lot going on here, you see, and the women in my family tend to live a very long time. Since I'm not married, my solution to staying in Freeman House when I'm old and crotchety... the only plausible one, anyway... is hiring a butler. A real one. One that carries a tray.
So imagine my delight yesterday when I ran across this old tray. During my lunch break, I wandered into a local antiques shop - the one that sells ancient pie safes alongside "lucky bamboo" and dream catchers - and there it was. I eased it off the shelf. It was heavy. It had both its handles and all its feet, and upon examining the underside I found an engraving that reads: Sheridan, TAUNTON SILVERSMITHS, LIMITED, with a picture of a lion.
I also found a price tag. $2.00, it read. "No way," I said aloud. I marched the tray to the counter. "How much is this?" I asked. "It must be priced wrong. The tag says two dollars."
"It's two dollars," the man said dryly.
And now it's mine. I imagine that when I'm older I'll have my butler bring this tray - loaded with fresh flowers and coffee and the paper - every morning at precisely eight o'clock. And then the mail and tea (or, honestly, a Diet Coke) at three o'clock. And dinner and coffee and the remote at half-past seven. O'clock. Until I'm old(er), however, I guess I'll be pouring my own coffee and getting my own paper and carrying my own tray. For guests, too.
Ah, the beauty of youth. Someone asked me yesterday how old I am. I'm 28. Thirty-two years shy of justifying hiring a butler. A real one.
(UPDATE: I found a "Sheridan Taunton Silversmiths" tea tray on eBay just now for $89 and it's smaller and in worse shape than mine. I love it when that happens, don't you? Oh! And I found the perfect butler. His name is Ron.)