I am not a purse person.
Not that I have anything against purse people. In fact, I can say with complete honesty that most of my best friends are purse people. And these are not frivolous friends who can spend money like an ex-Trump. These are hard-working women who, when they want to give themselves some kind of reward, buy something leather with initials all over it.
Which is good for them.
I like to listen in. I get the scoop on the QVC deal of the day, where the best outlets are, and what is and is not available on e-bay. But I’m really not a purse person.
I’ve dabbled in Coach. My wallet is a red leather Coach. I bought it about ten years ago in a consignment shop, brand new, for twenty dollars, and it is without a doubt the best wallet I have ever owned.
I have a red leather Coach backpack. I bought it out an outlet. It was on clearance, and there was a promotion going on that if you donated five dollars for breast cancer research, you could take an additional twenty percent off your purchase. So, they practically paid me to buy it.
I also have a Coach shoulder bag that my husband got me. It was for a significant birthday, and I saw it at Costco. Otherwise, I would have never let him buy it.
So my Coach involvement has never led me to invest too much money. I could just never see spending big bucks on something that spends most of its time on the floor behind the passenger seat of my car.
But last November, right before Thanksgiving, I was running through Macy’s. I rarely walk through Macy’s because them I might see something I like and spend too much money on it. So I was running. Okay, maybe just jogging. But as I was passing a long pine table, I heard something call my name.
I stopped and turned. The store wasn’t too crowded, so it was easy to see where the little voice came from.
It came from a table full of Dooney and Bourke bags.
I’d never actually seen a Dooney and Bourke bag. I’d heard the name of course, and was familiar with all the legends, but this was the first time I’d paid attention . I walked over slowly. One in particular caught my eye. It had tassels. Beautiful brown leather, the exact color of coffee with Fat Free French Vanilla creamer in it. Shiny brass hardware.
I stepped closer. There was a little stamped (or more likely hand-tooled) image of a duck on a leather patch. Above the image were the words Dooney Bourke. Not a bunch of initials stamped all over it. It was all in very good taste. Inside were pockets, lined with green and red suede. There was that cord to attach your keys to. And I could smell good leather, like from a soft, worn saddle.
And then, it spoke to me again. Clearly. Like a voice from heaven.
I looked at the price tag. It cost more than my first car.
Granted, my first car was a 1963 maroon Comet, but still.
I began to rationalize. If I got nothing else for Christmas, no perfume, no cashmere scarf, no gift card to William Sonoma, could I justify asking my husband to buy me something this ridiculous for Christmas?
Of course I could.
I called a good friend, who happened to be a purse person.
“I think a Dooney and Bourke zip hobo in Florentine just spoke to me,” I explained.
She sighed. “It happens.”
The next week, I was in the mall again with my daughter. She’s 15, so we’re there a lot. I stopped by the table and pointed out the purse.
“Can you remember what it looks like so you can tell Daddy it’s what I want for Christmas?”
She beamed. “Way to go, Mom.” She then took out her phone and took a series of mug shots – front view, side view, tag-with-all-relevant-numbers view.
And then all I could do is wait.
So let me tell you about Christmas morning. The best smell of Christmas is not the crisp pine of the tree. It’s not coffee brewing and bacon frying for breakfast. It’s not ginger and spice, or that special scent of new electronics.
The best smell of Christmas is good leather, like a soft, worn saddle, wafting out of the depths of my new Dooney and Bourke bag.
Not that I’m a purse person.
Because I’m not.