I have a button collection. My buttons are not the kind sewn on clothing. Mine are the kind with odd sayings or pictures on them. I pin them on my clothing where they will be most visible to the unsuspecting people I encounter. I photographed a select few to give you an idea of what the unsuspecting get to see.
The kind of buttons that speak to me can be fun conversation pieces or attention getters—positive or negative. Some people see the buttons and are drawn to converse with me; others point at them, laugh, and shake their heads; still others go glassy-eyed and look for the nearest exit.
I have a few souvenir buttons that I acquired in my travels as proof that I was courageous enough—or fool enough—to brave potentially dangerous pursuits. I still shudder whenever I see the button that proudly proclaims: “I went 1,000 feet underground at the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.” I got more than I bargained for there.
The Mollie Kathleen is a played out original 1890s gold mine that became a tourist attraction in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Miners sardine small groups of tourists together in a cage and take them down a tight elevator shaft 1,000 feet to the floor of the mine. It’s a long, long, endlessly long ride down because the cage descends at a snail’s pace. It is not for the faint of heart. After a few minutes, I broke out in a cold sweat.
We’ll run out of air before we get down there. We’ll get stuck halfway down and never get out. We’re all going to die, die, die!
It was not the most auspicious time to discover that I was slightly claustrophobic. [I thought packed New York subway cars made everybody feel that way.] I didn’t want to spoil everyone else’s fun, so with a lot of effort [and the power of prayer] I managed to conceal the panic I felt. Once down below, moving about, learning about gold mining, I chilled out a bit—until I had to face the agonizing return trip to the surface. O joy. I have never been so overjoyed to see sunlight and breath fresh air in all my life.
You would think that I learned my lesson at the Mollie Kathleen and would know better than to risk being a daredevil again, but no. Not yours truly. When we trekked to Alaska, I had to show Macho Guy and the boys that I was just as tough as they were. [I am woman. Hear me roar.] So of course I went with them when they decided to brave that ole Ketchikan whitewater.
Thought I was going to drown. And freeze. And catch pneumonia. Needless to say it turned out to be a bad hair day too. All I got for my trouble was a button and a photo of our soaking wet tribe looking like waterlogged river rats.
In my misspent younger days, being a science fiction geek girl, naturally I attended a few science fiction conventions. There were all manner of collectibles to be had, but next to getting classic SF novels signed by legendary science fiction authors, the calligraphy quotation buttons were my favorites. Some turned famous quotes on end with amusing results. I also found a few little gems, and one big gem, at writers’ conferences in the goody rooms. I like them all and would be hard pressed to choose a favorite.
Which one of my buttons do you like best?