It’s the culmination scene at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” After seeing how the world falls to pieces without him, the angel restores George Bailey’s life. Zuzu’s petals are in his pocket, to his relief; his daughter exists. He runs through the snowy streets of Bedford Falls, greeting all the buildings by name. He bursts through the front door of his house to find the bank examiner and local sheriff, whom he greets with a smile and a “Isn’t it wonderful—I’m going to jail!” He happily leaps up the stairs, accidentally yanking out, kissing and carefully replacing the railing post ball on the stair post—for the third time. And he chuckles before he’s reunited with his beatific children and his wife, who’s summoned the whole town to turn out to help address his financial woes.
He really had a wonderful life, that George Bailey.
And a nice railing post ball. Kissable!
Now we have a nice post ball, too.
When the stairway was installed, the hollow center poll just had a cover. If someone removed the cover, they could drop something down the post, never to retrieve it 12 feet down. But now, we have a distinctive ball made of overlapping iron leaves.
The proprietress of the spiral stair manufacturer found the one-of-a-kind feature for us online (she’s as big a fan of eBay as Tyler). A deal at $45. Described as “antique, architectural salvage newell fence post finial,” it’s 10 inches wide and dates to the early 1900s. We won the auction and handed it off to the spiral team to paint it, which was a bit of a trick given the spaces between the leaves. They managed to paint both the inside and the outside to match our spiral and railings.
Ta, da! The ball on top really sets off the spiral. So pretty, I could kiss it.
We interrupt our storytelling to bring you this holiday message.
A version of this quote is attributed to founding father Benjamin Franklin, who said, “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”
If we’re splitting hairs, the U.S. Constitution does not explicitly call out citizens’ right to pursue happiness, but the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate today and which was signed by Mr. Franklin as a representative of Pennsylvania, did describe life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as unalienable rights.
I changed “you” to “we” in Franklin’s last line because I think catching happiness is better achieved in community rather than by oneself.
May you find yourself among other happy revelers today. Happy Independence Day!
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Tomorrow: If you think choosing paint was a trick, try trim. Read about it here.