Thank you, collectors, dealers, curators, authors and the many others who are part of our community of "antiquers." Your hundreds of notes and calls have made the past two weeks a little easier. Ralph and I were together in work and marriage for many years, yet there are many stories I had forgotten or perhaps never heard:
- How he schemed with a dealer to make me think he was buying a 10-foot-tall airplane propeller for our living room, then told me about it in front of the camera during a TV taping.
- How he sat for hours in an auction to buy a special antique for me for our anniversary. He got it with the best ploy I have ever seen at an auction. He noticed only two other bidders wanted the antique, so he tapped the one nearest to us on the shoulder and said, "Pardon me, I have waited all day for the next piece--don't you have to go to the bathroom?" The dealer laughed, left for a short time, and Ralph's bid won.
- How he often gave a tie or cufflinks to someone who admired them.
- How he gave information and advice to anyone who asked, including one bottle collector from Alaska who called at 2 in the morning.
The house is filled with Ralph. Every piece of furniture, every vase, and of course our country store collection are all reminders of a wonderful husband and our years of collecting fun. The personal stories from you, especially the ones that tell of a chance encounter at a show or of the importance of his work, have kept me going. I keep thinking that, as one blogger said, "He's probably poking around in God's cupboards" looking for that next treasure.