Four months after we got married we moved to Germany, and my parents seized upon the opportunity to come visit us the next summer. It was Mom's first trip to Europe, and Dad's first since he was in the Army in WW2. In subsequent years they traveled the world but for this first expedition were happy to have a home base, a chauffeured car and personal guides.
The chauffeured car was nothing to write home about: a VW hatchback, only slightly larger than the classic bug. When all four of us, with our luggage, piled in there was barely room to breathe, but we were all much younger then and soldiered through. We picked them up from the ship in Bremerhaven and then drove around for a couple of weeks through Northern Germany and Denmark.
In Copenhagen we split up, men adjourning for beer while women went shopping. Mom and I were both enamored of Scandinavian design and we wandered around drooling over all manner of furniture, china, housewares, textiles and glass. Mindful of the tiny car we had to return home in, we bought a couple of tiny dishes, small enough to fit in your pocket. But then we came upon a small table, dark wood with an inlaid copper top. The copper was incised in a shallow bas relief, with an abstract pattern that was at once organic and industrial in feeling.
I fell in love. But how would I get it home? We asked the clerk if the legs came off. No. We asked the clerk if they could ship it to Germany. Yes, for three times the cost of the table, which was a non-starter. We left. We came back, so I could stroke the copper top again. Do you suppose the legs really don't come off? So we turned it over, and guess what? The legs came off!
The moral of the story, of course, is persistence, and/or skepticism: even when the clerk says the legs don't come off, turn it over and look for yourself.