A common assumption: people who appreciate and own the nicer things in life, including fine silver and crystal, have the means to purchase and own such fine things. But then, we know what happens when one makes assumptions, right?

The fact is some people are willing to sacrifice a necessity for something impractical and lovely because it speaks to their souls.

For example, my parents admired beautiful things and loved to give silver and crystal as gifts. Could it be that their appreciation for beautiful but impractical things had nothing to do with social status and upbringing? On the other hand, it is possible our love for the beautifully impractical rather than the practical may also have something to do with my ancestry.

My grandfather on my mother’s side was a count. He was poor, but nevertheless, he was of royal blood. In fact, Europe is the home to many impoverished royals. Think of the Romanovs as a prime example.

At one time, Austria and Hungary were the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Hungarians chafed under the Hapsburgs’ rule. My mother’s ancestor, Count Imre Thököly, was a Hungarian nobleman who ruled Transylvania (which was a part of Hungary back then) and led an anti-Hapsburg uprising. His father, István Thököly, participated in a failed conspiracy against the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, who also ruled the Austro-Hungarian Empire. You could say my tendency to rebellion against injustice, stupidity, and rules, in general, could be attributed to heredity.

For some strange reason, the nuns who taught in the parochial schools I attended did not appreciate rebellion in any shape or form. Of course, what they called rebellion was merely creativity on my part. Perhaps a contributing factor to my unappreciated behavior was my belief that since mother’s father was a count, mother and I were princesses. As those who have daughters know, a princess’ fantasies rule.

I know. I was wrong. Please contain your belly-laugh. It was a childish delusion due to the noble blood trickling in my veins. By the way, it was quite a shock to discover the term “blue blood” did not refer to the color of my blood. It was and still is red. What a disappointment. It is a wonder I am normal. Of course, many may dispute that claim.

Regardless of one’s upbringing, the passage of time and life experiences can and do change a person. Such transformations are particularly true when it comes to one’s taste in food, clothing, material possessions, and even people. (1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”) As you know, not everyone becomes or behaves like an adult. Immaturity is a degenerative societal condition.

My amazing mother-in-law contributed to my shift from impractical to practical. Hubby asked me to choose a Mother’s Day Gift for his mother. The gift was a delicate crystal bud vase on a sterling silver pedestal. She immediately knew I instead of her son chose that gift. Can we sing a chorus of “Too Impractical”?  She graciously thanked us for the gift which gathered dust in her china cabinet for years. Lesson learned.

I now own that vase. Pretty things bring a fleeting smile to the recipient, but polishing the silver is not a fun chore. Practicality and impatience with all things frou-frou, including ruffles, have gone the way of bell bottoms in my life.

The same is true of furniture. At first glance, ornately carved furniture is eye-catching, but are dust catchers. As the eye gazes longingly on such beauties, the vision of spending hours dusting, polishing, and related drudgery quickly negates the purchase of such items.

No longer is simplicity and practicality anathema to this blue blood because the pitter patter of servants’ feet would be an unwelcome intrusion on the tranquility of our lives.