First, this time, we have a woman sitting beside a woman sitting: Each of the two ladies has a pet, one cat and one dog; and each holds something in her two hands: the cat, and I think (although it’s depicted quite vaguely), a bouquet of flowers. This new sitting lady is so exceedingly and delicately pastel that it’s hard to make out many of the details that depict her–she has a nose, but a barely visible one, something more like a pimple. She is, however, the essence of girlish innocence, with puffy delicate pink cheeks and winsome teardrop-shaped eyes and a delicately and improbably pink little doggie who also carries some equally pink flowers. The delicate pinks and baby blues actually make the pair of them look a little like nineteen-fifties bathroom decor–a lady-like ladies’ bathroom for sure.
So what does this sitting female go with? the answer is, herself, for in this case, she and the bench she sits on are separate pieces:She, it seems, is the salt, and the bench, whose two holes are visible in this photo, is the pepper. And by the way, in case, anybody gets any ideas about something you sit in that can be a two-holer, no, this is clearly not a seat in an outhouse , and the girl is clearly not sitting on such a seat for the usual reasons people sit on them–although a quick first glance at the bench with the girl sitting atop, and the need for a large bundle of flowers, might suggest that).
Turned upside down, in fact, she actually does look a little like a toilet.
And I am leaving this frightening image before I am tempted to say unfortunate things about it involving words like hole and bottom.
But: as the last picture also reveals, this is one of the few salt-and-pepper shakers I have which announces its maker. It claim a 1997 copyright by PMI, and also says “LIC ENESCO” and “Made in China.” According to its website, “Enesco Canada Corporation, one of the most respected names in the Canadian giftware industry for more than 83 years, has been regarded as a leader in its field. Credited with being among the most innovative, trend-setting producers of gifts and collectibles, Enesco Canada continues its prominence throughout Canada.” I also guessing from info on the Enesco website that PMI is probably an abbreviation for Precious Moments, Inc., a company dedicated to selling the artistic work of one Sam Butcher, who, according to its website, has “never lost touch with his original purpose to create art which combined his heartfelt emotions with his abiding faith.” The company has now produced over 1500 pieces of its cute collectibles, each apparently with the trademark set of teardrop eyes, and a park based on them, Precious Moments Park in Carthage, Missouri, has almost half a million visitors every year. So it seems I am in possession of a verifiable authentic collectible here–not just another chintzy novelty salt-and-pepper shaker set as I had thought, but a Way of Life. A faith-based Way of Life at that. I am looking at it with new, possibly teardrop-shaped eyes, and trying very hard to be thrilled or elevated or something. Somehow, though, it still looks pink and round and chubby and noseless and begging much too hard for me to acknowledge its intensely adorable cuteness. just another cutesy shaker set after all.