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It has been raining here in Vermont for about five weeks in a row now with no signs of letting up.  Well okay, more like five days.  I am about halfway through a week-long reprieve from ballet school before summer term starts next week with a bang; this distinguished guest instructor from American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School will help us launch our busy eight-week program.  Then I am off to serve as guest faculty myself at this school in beautiful upstate New York; Clarence will have an entire week with his favorite sitter, who is a shepherd girl through and through and spoils him rotten in my absence.

Meanwhile I am treating myself to a luxurious few days visiting Handsome Chef Boyfriend, who alas is not enjoying any kind of break at the moment.  No worries, I assured him.  I have plenty to keep me occupied while you are away at work baking delicious things.  Oh, and by the way: do you have any objections to a blog post about your teeming collection of salt and pepper shakers?  He was giggling a little when he agreed to this.  (I did not mention that I also planned later to set them up militia-style on the edge of the laundry chute and pick them off one at a time with a bb gun.)

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I admire anybody who is a serious collector of things; I have only dabbled in collections, and really lack the persistence and fortitude it takes to do it.  Handsome Chef Boyfriend has a dizzying array of salt and pepper shakers and is always adding more.  I have had occasion to be along with him during some of his acquisitions, and have learned a couple of things.  For example, you can very nearly always find salt and pepper shakers whether you are in a high-brow antique place or a smelly flea market.  And some of the most hideous shakers have the highest value. You can tell something about the age of a piece depending whether it has a cork or plastic stopper in its bottom, but beware of an opening that is too perfectly round and has a cork jammed into it:  it is probably an impostor.

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HCB has his own criteria when it comes to the decision to purchase.  For example, his price limit is three bucks (although I have seen him equivocate over shakers that are a little pricier but really nifty).  I was with him the day he found these, sold out of the back of an elderly woman’s truck at an impromptu flea market for 25 cents:

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I like the clean lines and simple design of them.  Not so much with these, but what self-respecting salt and pepper shaker collection is without at least one hen and rooster combo?

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But seriously.  I give you the Eggplant Specimen:

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And from the sublime to the ridiculous:

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But wait, there’s more:

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And still more:

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Here we have variations on a theme:

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These will be the subject of the next Stephen King novel:

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And this is a nice vintage pair.  Get it?  Vintage?

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I amuse myself.  HCB is still a little while off from returning home and so I have some time to find more trouble.  Maybe I will go mismatch all his socks.  Har har.

Eat your heart out, Kevin McAllister.

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