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The Picnic Basket

A picnic basket in a beautiful, lush garden

(Originally published July 22, 2011)

A couple of years ago, my mom was piling stuff up for Good Will, including her old picnic basket.

I've been seeing this picnic basket all my life and it always meant good things to me. As a child I loved the idea of picnics - eating outdoors, eating mostly without silverware and being together with my family.

On an impulse I asked my Mom if I could have the old picnic basket, and she said, "Of course, but do you really want that old basket?" Visions of lazy picnics and sunny days danced in my head. So I brought it home.

I took this photograph of it a couple of days ago. It's a good, old-fashioned picnic basket: simple, practical and well-made. No, it doesn't keep cold things cold, or hot things hot. It doesn't have a drain in the bottom, or wheels. It doesn't have flashing lights and wouldn't float worth a darn.

But... it holds everything you need, and it's solid as a rock even after 50 years. It holds all the food, even casseroles and odd shaped bowls, and dishes and cutlery. It holds a picnic blanket (I have a Sage Green Modern Design Blanket in there.) It holds books, and crayons and notebooks. And when the handles are folded down, it makes a fine low tabletop.

It is clearly something my mother would buy. My Mom never bought cheap stuff - she just didn't believe in it. If she wanted something, she saved up and bought the very best she could get. And then she took care of it.

You may wonder why on earth I'm writing about this picnic basket and my Mom.

I think it's because she's had such a profound impact on me, and by extension on Gilden Tree. What it means is that I don't want us to sell something that my Mom wouldn't have wanted to buy. I want every product we sell to be well-made and to do what it's supposed to do. I want it to be the best quality we can make it. I want it to be amazingly good.

I know you can buy cheaper stuff, much cheaper in fact. But if Gilden Tree is going to offer you something, I hope it will be something you'll hang onto. Something you'll take care of and maybe - just maybe, something one of your own kids will rescue from the Good Will pile one day.