Photo by Karen Novak


It started out as a whim.

During my Black Friday shopping frenzy, I bought two new blankets. They’re perfect for cozying up on the couch on these cold, dark days of winter.  I keep one over the back of the chair and one over the couch.  The problem is I already had a blanket over the couch and chair.  So I folded up those blankets and moved them to the closet, where I found I had four other blankets already stored.

Hmm. It occurs to me I might have a mild blanket fetish.

Let’s not explore that any further.

I had the fleeting thought that I should buy a large wicker basket—the size of a laundry basket or so—that I could put in the living room. I’d fill it with my beautiful blankets and it would be both useful and decorative.  What could be cozier than a basket full of blankets?

Here’s where the fun begins.

I looked everywhere—Target, Michael’s, Wal-Mart. No big wicker baskets.  Some wicker hampers and trunks, but no baskets.

This was going to be harder than I thought.

So last Tuesday a friend and I went on a road trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For those who don’t know, Lancaster has a booming tourist market for Amish handmade goods you can’t find elsewhere, including Amazon.com.  Surely they would be overflowing with handmade wicker baskets.

We drove the four hours (one-way) and I prepared to enter basket heaven. Would I be so overwhelmed by the cornucopia of baskets that I wouldn’t be able to choose just one?

We found truckloads of beautiful handcrafted furniture, birdhouses, jellies and jams, Christmas tree ornaments, Shoefly pie, and apple dumplings.

No wicker baskets. Not one.

We asked Siri for help. She directed us to a basket warehouse—what could be more promising than a basket warehouse?  I’m sure they would’ve been the answer to my prayers, but they were closed.  Out of business.  As were two other basket-centric stores.

The basket business, it seems, is drying up.

At one store, I asked the teenager behind the register if she had wicker baskets.

“What?” she asked.

“Wicker baskets,” I said. “Big ones.  Like a laundry baskets.”

She looked at me like I had two heads.

“Can you describe them?”

“Um,” I said. “A basket made of…”  I struggled not to say wicker, but instead mumbled something about braided wood.  I already knew this was a dead end.

We drove the four hours home basket-less.

How is this possible? We live in a world where you can buy anything you want with a trip to Target or a click of the mouse.  How can I not find a suitable wicker basket?

And the truth is, the fact that I can’t find one makes me want one even more.

It started out as a whim.

Now I’m on a mission.

For all of my readers, I hope this is the year you finally quit smoking, or lose those last ten pounds, or save money.

As for me, I’ll be spending 2016 hunting baskets, and I don’t care where I have to go or what I have to pay to get one!

Happy New Year!