J.J. Cardinal's Wild Bird & Nature Store
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self portrait - circa 1996


rich patina = characterImproves over time in the age of disposable

The rich patina on our store broom handle makes me smile.  It says: "I've been with you for quite awhile".  Through thick and thin our trusty broom has been of service each day since we opened 21+ years ago, in  1991.    When not in service our broom hangs neatly in the backroom.   It has lasted so long because of the care we give it, and because it was well made to begin with.   We respect it's simple purpose.   Perhaps the one of the reasons we enjoy Antiques Roadshow on PBS is because much of the focus is upon history and quality.  Poorly made things do not typically stand the test of time.

Literally hundreds of hands have grasped this broom handle to sweep up debris in and around the store...out on the front porch and sidewalk.  The black paint has worn off two spots on the handle; the original dustpan remains strategically attached when not in use.  Simply 'cuz the paint is worn off does not mean we need a new one.  To us, the patina equals character. For many things the change in appearance - the rich patina - is usually caused by the build-up of dirt, oils from our skin and hands, build-up of polish, or chemical changes in the finish or the object itself.  We think that "old look" usually gives an object a rich and attractive appearance.  But that is just our opinion; maybe our sense of nostalgia is showing again.  

Back when we acquired our broom it's maker, like the baker and candlestick maker were based here in the greater US of A.  So were the cobblers and textile weavers.  Today O'Cedar's parent, FHP, is based in Germany, and Swifter-brand extruded stuff is eating their lunch in terms of America's popular choice for household cleaning products.  In the event we're in the market in the future for a good broom, we'll continue to look for the "made in USA" tag.  Same is true with most things in our store.  We search high and low to find quality domestically produced merchandise to sell, and where possible, supplies for the shop that are made in America.  Pens, paper bags, gift wrap.          

We feel just about the same way about our wooden seed bins...and faithful little red wagon.   If it's not broken, why replace it?  There does seem to be a movement in our disposable society to fix, and repurpose and not simply throw stuff away just so we can get the latest, greatest rendition or version.  Not all "upgrades" are necessary.   

Louise Dawson
on behalf of the the Naturalists at J.J. Cardinals
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J.J. Cardinal's Wild Bird & Nature Store ®
12830 S. Saginaw St., Grand Blanc, MI  48439  810-695-8733
08/25/13  illustrations, text & fun © J.J. Cardinal's 1992-2013
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