Back in the day, it seemed that every product had trading cards attached to it. The most famous, of course, are baseball cards, which inspire nostalgic fervor among most American men. Will is among that group–he’s not a “serious” collector in the sense of seeking out especially rare or valuable cards. He simply likes to keep a variety of cards representing different brands, eras, and trends in baseball and will pull out a box or binder of them when he’s feeling blue. Inspired by how much poring over his baseball cards cheers him up, Will recently made me the thoughtful gift of my own set of cards. I know almost nothing about baseball, but I know a lot about gardening, so he presented me with a small stack of Wills’s Tobacco Cards from their Gardening Hints series of the late 1930s. Each one is a bit smaller than a standard business card; the recto side has a four-color illustration depicting a garden chore, and the verso carries helpful instructions for, say, building a dovecote. So now, when I’m blue, I can pull out my little cards and dream of building my perfect English garden.

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