I stopped by a garage sale this morning. It was Rita Moonbeam (remember, I use fake names around here) and an older couple, her parents, I believe. One thing really caught my eye: A small flat-topped trunk covered with beautiful stamped tin. The trunk was really quite solid, the wood sound, the hinges and latches still fine. The straps were broken, the tray was missing and the tin had a layer of rust all over it, but no holes or out-and-out breaks. Just a nice solid little trunk.
I got to asking about it and turns out it was a Moonbeam family trunk that came over from Ireland, they're guessing about 150 years ago, which would be reasonable for a Potato Famine immigrant family. At least the eldest living member of the family is 94 and he was born in the New World. Anyway, this is a family treasure. Actually let me restate that: It is a Family Treasure. My good deed was to talk them out of selling it. It's not something they can easily replace. It's a nice, small trunk and will look wonderful with a minimum of fuss and very little expense. If it were mine, I'd gently de-rust the tin, replace the straps and let it go at that; if they want to, they can reline it and build a new tray and use it for a blanket chest.
When I got home, Barry said, "I can't believe you didn't just buy it and not tell them." He doesn't mean I should have done that; he just thinks I have no soul when it comes to acquisition of stuff!