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As a young teen, I used to babysit for two cousins.  While I don't remember much about our time together (other than the fact that I lorded my authority over their bewildered selves with much aplomb and very little humility), I do remember that my Aunt had the most spectacularly outfitted pantry I'd ever before laid eyes upon. 

I lusted after that pantry.  I admired the rows of capers and anchovies.  She had multiples of items I'd never even heard of.  She seemed, as I gazed at the riches displayed on those basement, plywood shelves, to be the most cosmopolitan person I'd ever known.  There were three dijon mustards, waiting expectantly to grace my Aunt's elegant table.  Two jars of pickled artichokes lurked, but lurked neatly as they awaited their turn to be promoted to the status of kitchen artichokes.  I'll never forget those perfectly arranged shelves and the bounty - the mysterious, abundant bounty! - they held in that secret basement pantry under the stairs.  The very idea of being so erudite so as to have items such as these was only outdone in my adolescent mind by the fact that there were multiple versions of the same thing, lying in wait to satisfy and grandly fulfill that inevitable moment of o, I'm in the middle of this recipe and I hadn't realized that I'd run out of jarred, roasted red peppers and were it not for my organized foresight and the fact that I have three more jars of said product just waiting for me and moments like these, I'd be in a real pickle right now.  O I admired that sophisticated woman and her myriad jars.  Her pantry came, in later years, to represent wealth, abundance and general well-being in my mind.  You see, I'm a collector.

I collect antique silverware.  China tea cups.  Books of all kinds, though my most recent challenge is to build a hard-back Agatha collection.  I collect birds.  And mis-matched china of all kinds. O and old linen table napkins. 

When I add to one of my collections, I feel a stab of satisfaction.   I feel well-provided for.  And funnily enough, for fortunately I and my fellow Earth dwellers (for the most part, anyway) have evolved well beyond this hunter/gatherer mindset, I feel a primal surge of all is well and I'm safe.  The sabre-tooth is currently elsewhere.
 


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