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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Treasure Hunting

Vintage linen for the Thanksgiving table

 (Cheryl-Anne Millsap / Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)
(Cheryl-Anne Millsap / Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)

    This Thanksgiving, as I usually do, I'll decorate the table simply with a few favorite items: a carved wooden pheasant, a vintage table cloth, the family china and silver. We'll sit down together to eat favorite foods, celebrate and enjoy one another's company.

    But this year I do have something new, or, rather, old, to bring to the table. Recently, on a trip to the Gulf Coast, I attended the Peter Anderson Festival in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. As we walked toward the booths of artists and artisans, we passed a small antique store. The owner of the store was holding a sale before closing the doors forever and everything was deeply discounted. I didn't have much time so I went immediately to the section of the store where all the linens were displayed and picked up three pieces. I have a thing for heavy, hand-sewn French linen and I'd immediately noticed three little pieces, two table runners and a small tea towel, on a shelf.

   I held up the linens and asked for a price, in a bit of a hurry because I needed to catch up with the rest of my party. The owner looked at what I held in my hand and shrugged.

   "How about $2?" he said. "I told you everything needs to go."

   I was thrilled. The pieces would sell for much more than that anywhere else. I handed him the $2 and ran on to find everyone else.

    This year, when I set the table, I'll add two miniature pumpkins that grew on a vine in my backyard; they are the last remnants of my summer garden. (You can read more about the pumpkins in my Growing Green column.)Tucked around them, I'll add one of the linen pieces I brought home from the south.

    I've been so busy lately, I haven't had much time for treasure hunting and I've missed the adventure. The few minutes I spent in the antique store were a treat. As was the bargain.

     I can't think of a better way to dress a holiday table.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. She can be reached at


Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes about antiques and collectibles and the love of all things vintage. Millsap's Home Planet column appears each week in the Wednesday "Pinch" supplement and she is The Spokesman-Review's female automobile reviewer. She is a regular contributor to Spokane Public Radio and her essays can be heard on Public Radio stations across the country. Cheryl-Anne is the author of "Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons."