My father called them jollies. They’re little things, usually not expensive, quite small, amusing, useful or appropriate. They’re not presents or gifts. They are just meant to “jolly life along.”” Heaven knows we all need to be jollied along.

I have a gift drawer, several, in fact, where I keep jollies (presents, too) that I collect for people, and give away as the year progresses, not only  easily to people I see regularly but  also to people at a stamp’s distance. The hard part is that stamps proliferate — postage is very expensive these days. I keep remembering that Marshall McLuhan reminded us that we should be grateful that have a million dollar service at our disposal for pennies (more than that!) , a service that used to be available only to powerful or wealthy people and even then — I mean, look at Romeo and Juliet. The private mail service went horribly awry and look what happened.

So I buy really light, flat things that can fit in an envelope and travel cheap. Sometimes I stamp on a parcel to flatten it so that it will fit the slot they test it on. 

That’s not what I wanted to talk about. I was talking about buying jollies and I drifted into a tangent. Well …. so…jollies. No --- prices. I went to a high end gift store. Galleries and museums have marvellous jollies, very innovative, and I’m willing to pay for an idea. But improvements or solutions to problems I have been familiar with for a long time and have long since solved in some way or the other, without great expense, no way.

I found a strawberry huller and a tomato corer. Half a century ago I had a strawberry huller, a little tin pincer that clipped the green leaves from the centre on top of the strawberry. I think it cost about a dollar (loonies were far in the future). I had it for years buf it’s gone now. I have a small knife so I don’t need another huller, certainly not like the one in the gift store, a large tool about the length of my palm with a vicious knife shaped to cut out the top and centre of a strawberry. It costs $10.95. I pass. The tomato corer was bigger, with a triangular, cone-lilke blade to cut out the core of a tomato. I think it was $14,95. Nope.

But it got me thinking, sending me off on another tangent. Strawberries and tomatoes (and other things) don’t grow the way they used to. They have deeper cores, harder centres, more stems and leaves to be removed than they used to. I don’t know what to say about that or what to do about it, but I know I’m not going to buy an expensive gadget to remove the evidence. That’s not jolly at all.

Besides, where would I put it/them?