We finally moved into a house with a walk-in pantry. Cliff discovered this 1859 historical treasure had a flour bin, not that we planned on hitching up the wagon to fetch 100-pound sacks of the stuff. Just interesting.

Our moves always involve a scramble of opening boxes, sometimes accurately labeled. Filling kitchen cabinetry was easy, except for all the items randomly stashed on the newfound pantry shelves. I planned on organizing it later.

Famous last words for procrastinators.

Five years later, no more excuses.

That pantry was a haphazard, tumbling mess. Light bulbs next to vinegars. Dog supplies stashed with tools. Detergent alongside canned goods. Ziplock bags of junk drawer contents from every move since Tulsa. Any search and rescue mission into that pantry was lighted by one bare bulb.

In early January, I worked in there for days with a rope around my waist, fastening the end to the door knob to find my way back out.

Remember that flour bin? Maggie discovered it was stuffed with paper and plastic bags dating to 2001, requiring major recycling efforts before ever touching the shelves.

Because I am the way I am, I required containers that at least hinted of history. I found antique-brass wired baskets at Lowe’s. Good. But they were on sale and discontinued–with few remaining. Bad. I needed a lot, so I googled area stores, finding more in towns to the east and west. Good. I’d have them shipped, except each listing said SHIPPING UNAVAILABLE. Bad. Maggie tackled the problem, assuming I was not clicking the right button. Nope.

I called stores and waited on hold.

And waited.

I was told to order online. Maggie directed them to their own pages to see that was not possible. So they said I’d have to check the shelves. I politely pressed:

“Let me be sure I understand you. You’re asking me to drive for 45 minutes to check the shelf myself. Perhaps I’ll find you do not have any, meaning I’ll drive 45 minutes back home, empty-handed. Is that correct?”


A customer who tests “customer service” is a challenge. In each case, an employee was finally sent to check and found they had some. My baskets would be held at the desk for 24 hours.

Cliff, America’s Best Husband, drove me through snow and sleet showers, to amass the available stock.

We now have spaces to display my great-grandmother’s wooden potato masher, along with other old treasures. And we have an actual light fixture replicating the one my grandparents had in their pantry.

While baskets are currently labeled with paper-clipped lists, I’ll find the perfect labels, paint the pantry, and refinish the floor.


Remember those ziplock bags? One of them held the missing brass tack from the chair I used to stand on to help my grandmother knead bread dough.

Yes, I could have bought a replacement along they way, but it wouldn’t have been the same.

It wouldn’t have been hers.

And mine.

14 thoughts on “Pantry Treasures

  1. I love this story! I have some treasures handed down like your grandmother’s chair. However I learned a new word? “timbling”? Was that supposed to be tumbling? When I looked it up, the closest I could get was a guy named Tim Bling….. Thanks as always for your wonderful words!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cliff mentioned the typo when he read it, but the day got away from me. I appreciate the reminder. I’m glad you have family treasures. The stories behind them are great treasures themselves.


  2. Life always gets down to the brass tacks. Good story. We turned our pantry into a bathroom when we turned the summer kitchen into a bedroom. But we’re way out in the country, so a little less pantry style.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. When Maggie took the picture, she said, “Mom, this looks like an old general store.” And that was my inspiration in the first place. Now I just need to add a bolt of calico to a shelf.


  3. Maggie nailed it. Your pantry looks like an old general store. There should be a barrel full of pickles soaking in brine, and elderly guys playing checkers and discussing current events.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you see the potential. I’m definitely a 19th century wannabe, myself. I could put my grandmother’s chair in there, if you’d tilt back in it and play “Red River Valley” on the harmonica while I bake biscuits.


  4. Karen, when we can travel more, I look forward to seeing your pantry, your home, and of course all of you! Until then, I’m catching up on your blogs. The hospital has calmed down— actually closed the Covid floors— so I’m no longer working 60 hour weeks.


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