Monday, December 31, 2018

Do You Want Ten Gallons of Cream?

My actual experience of a working agricultural household can be counted in minutes. I was along for the ride when a friend stopped at a farm to take care of a minor errand. We were invited in for coffee, and I can't remember a more edifying visit.

I had heard and read that the owners of a working farm will equip production areas before they furnish the house. The interior of the turn of the twentieth century farmhouse where I was seated bore witness to those priorities and to the advantages of careful maintenance in pristine air. Part of the space had been remodeled, and there was a vertical line of demarcation between the update and the original surfaces of the dining room. My hostess served coffee on a table furnished with original pressed glass dishes, an American technical innovation that stimulates aggression in collectors. The table service had been procured once, procured well, and used carefully for generations. Not a penny had been squandered. When it was time to leave, herself casually asked my friend if she could use an extra ten gallons of cream.

With so many people working out of their domiciles these days, such values hold true for city living as well. The cream, in urban terms, is the amazingly rich product of the knowledge work that claims so many hours of so many lives that are busy paying off student loans -30-

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