Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

Remember this one? It was a game we played when we were kids. There were several versions, some having involving a button passed between kids and others similar to a shell game. The trick was to find the button... wherever it was. The benefits of this game were endless because it had so many variations and buttons were pretty easy to find. Of course you might have gotten in trouble for taking a button off a shiny new set of buttons on a card but that's another story.

You could have gotten in even more trouble for taking a button off a shirt or a pair of pants that someone needed. In those days, buttons were the chosen method of keeping clothing where it belonged. I kind of liked snaps, too and zippers but seems like our clothing budget didn't include a lot of those.

My mother wasn't much into sewing because we moved a lot and it's hard to accumulate enough important stuff to sew if you have to start over every year or so. Come to think of it, that holds true for most hobbies or in the case of sewing, necessary skills. When I learned to sew I made clothing for myself, the girls, Barbie and Baby Drowsy. Of course there were curtains and pillows and all sorts of other things along the way.

I gave up sewing for the same reason my mom did. I needed the space for something else. The pile of fabric, notions, patterns and finally, the sewing machine went away. I was left with buttons, a needle threader and the basics for mending. It was about that time that we met a man in Mexico who makes his living selling buttons. Who knew?

I will say he makes a handsome living selling rare buttons and adds to his income by selling buttons from different eras through time. He got me so interested in buttons that I actually went to two Northwest Button Society Shows in Salem. What I learned was that there's a whole world full of rare and incredibly beautiful buttons out there. Of course, I also enjoyed visiting with my friend at these shows. Though we met and became friends in Mexico, he actually lives in Washington. Gosh, we're practically neighbors.

One day at a garage sale I found a quart jar filled with buttons for $3. In addition to keeping all visiting children captivated, the jar of buttons tempted a good friend and I to sort all the buttons into sets for our friend in Mexico/ Washington. It took us awhile but eventually we sifted through every single button in that jar and categorized them on piano wire to the best of our ability. We had plenty of giggles during the process and finally packaged up our treasure and mailed them off to Washington.

By the time we touched every one of those buttons we believed they must be worth a bazillion samolians. They weren't. This left us broken hearted and crushed any plans we had to be buttonaires. We moved on to harvesting and saving seeds from our gardens and then succulents. It's always something. This keeps us lively and helps fight off the blues come winter.

Now, back to those buttons. For starts, I can't fasten them any more. The smaller they are, the more painful trying to push them through that tiny hole is. I prefer snaps or better, I just leave everything that has buttons just the way they are. What is buttoned, stays buttoned through every load of laundry and every bounce through the dryer. The only time a button is dealt with is if it needs changed and sometimes that's a challenge. There's a handy device for this problem but it's never around when I need it.

A couple of weeks ago I spent more money on a button than I ever imagined I would. The time had finally come for a button that would keep me connected to the rest of the world. After three falls this summer, I stopped finding any humor in those “I've fallen and I can't get up” commercials. The time had come to claim myself as winner of the who's got the button game. I've got it and it's on a cord hanging around my neck.

My button came with a transmitting device, a lock box and a lot of peace of mind. I am not used to wearing jewelry so I like to think this may be the start of something big. Maybe I'll get so used to having it there, that I'll begin craving those big, colorful necklaces that I've viewed from afar all these years. For the time being, I can hardly wait to call the Button Man from Mexico and tell him about my investment. I think he'll be very proud of me. I know I am.

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