2018-01-10 / Opinions & Letters

Dated hue

Midwest Memo
by Alan Shultz

Last week I put on some old work clothes and tried my hand at cleaning out a storage closet into which we rarely venture. Inside the closet I found a big old clunky stereo system no music buffs in the family admit owning or even ever seeing. There was a pair of women’s shoes no ladies in the family claim ever wearing and there were assorted tool and paint supplies I didn’t know we had. Also, there were several one-gallon cans of dried up latex, interior beige colored paint.

The paint color looked familiar to me and I soon determined that it was indeed the same warm, buttery light beige that our living room, hallway and office walls are all currently painted. Then I looked at the date on the paint cans and did a little mental math.

Now I should go on record admitting to being the “Mr. Negative” in our household when it comes to redecorating the family home. I don’t like the dust and the mess and the disruption that comes with moving furniture, pulling the artwork down and repainting walls. But until I looked at the dates on those paint cans, I didn’t realize that I’ve been resisting redecorating for about a quarter century.

I have two observations to make concerning this long time coming realization. First, my, my time certainly flies. Second, given the duration of this hue in our lives, thank goodness we chose a light, buttery beige for our wall color!

My celebration over our choice of non-memorable, non-eyecatching boring beige walls so many years ago is occasioned by another color choice we made many moons ago. You see, I am haunted, still to this day, by our seeming fascination years and years back of the color known as “forest green.”

From what I can tell, forest green was first popular in the late 1970s and its popularity peaked in the early to mid- 1980s. Somehow we stretched this hue well past its fashion expiration date all the way into the early 1990s.

Recently the first house we ever owned was torn down by a developer. The first thing that the wrecking ball exposed when it took its first hit was a sea of forest green wall-towall carpeting covering the glassed in front porch floor. Two owners after us stayed with our ‘70s color pick, despite the passing years.

I have yet to purchase my Weather-tec floor mats for my new car. Meanwhile I have made protective rag mats out of a couple indestructible forest green bath towels I had balled up in my trunk. Apparently when we were smitten with a love of forest green we bought a good dozen sturdy towels in that hue. For the last decade I have been using those towels for rags, car washing and packing fragile items. There seems an endless supply of these towels. When I gave someone a ride the other day they looked down at my homemade car mats and exclaimed - “We used to have towels that color too….. years ago.”

Our kitchen on the farm came from a place in Buffalo, north of Monticello. The cabinet company is no longer in business. Neither, do I think, is the countertop guy who fabricated our custom countertops, our forest green custom countertops that swath our kitchen in a green glow…to this day.

Over the Christmas holiday we set the dining table with the 14 forest green place mats that have served and endured all these years. And until recently, the countertop which matches the placemats which match the towels all matched the area rug in our back entryway, the rug I had to literally scrape from the floor when it finally wore out.

Now you might say that surely forest green will come back some day and I’ll regret turning the towels to rags, scraping the rug off the floor, “misplacing” the placemats, or remodeling that classic kitchen of ours.

And my reply is, I’m willing to take that risk.

Return to top