Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Using the Antique Garden Basket Properly For the Late Fall Harvests.

Using the Antique Garden Basket Properly For the Late Fall Harvests.

Properly using the (your)
Antique antebellum (pre 1860) handmade
Old New England ash splint wood
Garden basket
For the (your)
Late fall vegetable garden harvests.

This is a pleasant undertaking.
Take the old basket(s) from the 
(Old) (garden) shed(s).
Harvest a prescribed crop or
Engage in gleaning
On a mid November morning when one is
Attending to other putterings about the (your) garden

The sun need not be out.
A flake of snow may be in the air.

An example of a seasonal Fall crop harvest is,
Of course,
The Brussel Sprouts; a last ‘row’ at waiting.
The fall frosts have cleaned up the Sprout’s neighborhood
At their garden plot.
“They aren’t any good until AFTER the FROST.”
Is their time honored harvest instruction.
We pick ours and head straight to the cast iron skillet with them
(The tiny ones especially)
They are ‘fried’ with three diced strips of the local bacon.
A ‘very simple’ of the mid fall season.
And only a short outing for the
Antique splint wood old New England garden basket.

By far more fun
For the old basket
Is when I take it gleaning
When I have ‘work along’ in a
Garden plot here and there.
Come with me my senior friend and have some
Bright crisp fall air
Upon your wooden weave.

Today I turn over (by hand with shovel) a tomato plot
In effort to expose the Tomato Caterpillar’s (Hornworm) winter roust
(Buried Cocoon)
So they may freeze to death.

Along the plot’s edge I turn up with my shovel lost onions that we grow
As a border edge.  The onion border was long ago harvested.  These are the hidden few escaping notice during harvest;
A gleaning.

My antique garden basket creeps along the plot’s edge with my shovel.
I toss the find into it’s
Demanding trove keep.
A little dirt.  A little dry
A crinkled skin.
A sprouting top.

Each brushes time aside for it;
(The old New England splint wood garden basket).
The basket lives its life again as it follows the shovel
Along the plot.
Is not that a pleasant
Way to be;
To properly use the (your) old New England splint wood
Garden basket?

Gardiner's Garden Basket - Part Two

Gardiner's Garden Basket

Part Two

            “His basket would never be FULL.  Only what they’d EAT.  Pick and EAT IT.  That handle’s just a stick.  His basket was NEVER heavy.  Never FULL.  Break the handle.  LOT of the handles (on the garden baskets I find) ARE broken though.  Garden baskets were never made to be FULL.”
            “But... SAME; their full meal.  Dirty on the bottom.”
            “The root crops.  Those go in first.  We all do that.  First I’d see his hand in the potatoes.  FEELING in up over his wrist.  Into a hill.  Take out two medium.  He always ate the larger one.  Carrots.  Onion.  Those dirty in the bottom (of the basket).”
            “I ate his carrots”.
            “Feeding a horse”.
            “You wouldn’t eat anything else.”
            “Sometimes a BEAN.  Those little tomatoes.”
            “Those went on top of the dirty; lettuce, dill and the fluffy’s on the top”.
            “Dill... nope.  In a PICKLE OK.”
            “Ain’t you a VEGAN?”
            “VEGAN?  NO!”
            “I though SURE you IS.”
            “Lets see what you got in the (pickup truck) cab.”
            I turn away from the tailgate.
            “Carrie GIVE me one of her cheese CROW-SAINTS.
            “Cheese crow-saints?” I say turning back.
            “She MAKES those.  FRENCH she says.  She’s CANADIAN you know.”
            “And makes French crow-saints?  You got one?  Let’s see it”.
            “I ATE IT.”
            “ATE IT?  What else you got in there?  Vegetables?”
            “WHALE... DAY OLDS”.
            “Day old?  Bakery?”
            “WHALE... EXPIRED... E-me sell me them.”
            “WHALE ...she says:  I says to her THESE EXPIRED SEE and show her (the date).  She says NOT... on these here TOMORROW.  OH I says.  THEN she says OH GO ON Fetchy.  She give me HALF OFF.  A beer too; dented.  She says I dented it and they don’t sell dent BEER.  Then she says OH GO”.
            “REGULAR VEGAN ain’t yah.  Where’s your garden basket.”
            “Don’t have one.  Don’t have a garden.  I JUST wanted GARDINER’S.  I THINK.  Whale... I don’t CARE do I.  Just SEE IT AGAIN.”
            “Amy... I got one from THAT PLACE.  Her AUNTS or something; uncle, AUNT; something to do with her.  Not direct.”
            “To her?  You got her basket?”
            “A basket.  Garden basket.  The one that was in there.  NOT HERS.  She don’t have a basket.  She don’t even KNOW there’s a basket to have OR a garden to use it in”.
            “NICE girl.”
            “Yeah but... this was her aunt’s place.  That little farm... you know... down below Rich’s.  Got one little attached barn.  House is out by the road.  Had the garden right off to the left in front.  Pulled right in next to it.  That’s how I knew.”
            “Knew?  Know they had a basket?  How’d you know THAT?”
            “Pull in next to the garden.  Could see right there.  Right there; there’s a FOOT PATH; trampled PATHWAY.  Right out the shed DOOR.  Right across the drive into the GARDEN.  Someone do that EVERYDAY.  To the GARDEN.  So.. they’ve GOT to have a basket... right in THERE;  in that shed.  Right HANDY.  From the kitchen door.   Got to be RIGHT THERE.  And there it was.”
            “WHALE... you some WEASEL... do’en THAT!”
            “WEASEL?  Doing that?  What’s that but just a PLAIN as your FACE.  YOU’RE THE WEASEL; old day-old NOT OLD Fetchy the weasel”.
            “BUT... you WEASELED that basket I know YOU.”
            “Didn’t weasel it.  Just didn’t.  Just didn’t do NOTHING.  Just waited.  Course I SEEN it.  Did TOUCH IT.  Figured... you know... they’d LEAVE IT.  And they did.  Took it all else; the TV.  Washer-dryer.  Sofa.  Damn SOFA TOO.  FINE I says... leave what you DON’T WANT and we’ll fix the PRICE.  And they DID.  They regular cleaned it out FOR ME.  Just left the ‘old stuff’ they CALLED IT.  I took that basket right out to the cab.  GARDEN STILL GOING with them PICKING IN IT.  Didn’t even ANYTHING about BASKETS.  Picked the tomatoes and put them in banana boxes.  ...  I still got that one (that garden basket).  Up in the...”.
            “You didn’t sell it?”

            “Nope.  No one wants it.  Bottom’s gone.  They don’t know.  Old one.  Civil War.  That farm is 1858.  The barn; 1858.  Probably built the house first.  Probably something there before that house.  They hadn’t used it (the garden basket) for a while.  Stopped.  When she died I’d figure.  BUT.  Well.  It was KEPT in the SAME place.  On the bench back by the (kitchen) door.  So... it sat wet.  So.  That took out the bottom.  Over the years.  The DIRT.  Stuck in the bottom.  And wet”.
            “So... GOT WET?”
            “Well... a lot of ‘em (the garden basket user) will WET DOWN the basket (contents) AFTER they picked.  Get it ready to CLEAN (the root crops in the bottom).  Millie Bracket:  SHE... JESUS.  Was there one day and she takes that sweetheart (garden basket) she’s got right over to the well and PUMPS right on the whole PICK.  GUSHING right out the bottom.  Does it EVERY DAY.
            “You tell her?”

            “NO!  JUST WAIT.  She’ll be done with it soon enough.  She’s EIGHTIES.  You figure she’s been GUSHING that basket for the last forty years.  I bet.  HER bottom’s gone.  Inner bottom; where it SITS WET.”
            “You looked at it.”
            “Yep... I DID.  Sort of without SAYING.  JUST picked it up WET and turned it over.  She didn’t think anything.”
            “You didn’t ask her?”
            “Nope.  Never.”
            “Whale... you’d THINK she KNOW.”
            “She don’t KNOW!  Jesus Fetchy... THIS HERE; these old garden baskets, is BECAUSE they don’t know.  That’s HOW we GET.  They don’t know they’re USING IT; great Grammy’s.  THEN when WE get ‘em... WELL ...I GET ‘em.   And have it.  And (sometimes) SHOW IT... WELL... THOSE:  They think the bottom’s BROKEN.  I mean... THEY JUST DON’T GET IT.  The path.  The garden.  The water.  EVERYDAY at least ONCE a day.  And it’s a hundred and fifty years old too.  To GET THAT WAY.”
            “WHALE.  They’s SPECIAL TO ME.”
            “Fetchy... you ever EAT with Gardiner?  See him COOK?”

Gardiner's Garden Basket - Part Three

Gardiner's Garden Basket

Part Three

            “Cook?  EAT?  Gardiner don’t invite me to EAT.”
            “You never?”
            “WHALE... NOPE”.
            “I did.  Right from the garden... RIGHT from that basket.”
            “WHALE THEN I know WHY I SKIPPED THAT”.
            “No donuts?”
            “WHALE...:  At the GAS STATION.  She (Gardiner’s wife) made them donuts for THERE.  I HAD THOSE.  But no veg-ah-TABLES ‘cept a BEAN maybe.”
            “He’d go inside with the basket.  He’d put it all out in a wash pan in the sink.  He’d wash all of it and set it on towels.  He’d put the BASKET back on the porch.  First he’d put the potatoes to boil; one extra for me.  Then he’d put three strips of bacon in the big skillet.  Cook that hard and then set the strips off.  Then hot as hell he’d have set up the rest of the vegetables from the basket; nipped the beans and all.  He’d dump it all into the smoking hot grease.  STIR FRY IT just like a WOK.  Then put the skillet  on the table.  DRAIN out the potatoes.  Set those on the plates with a bacon strip.  SLICE those potatoes and put the plate at your place.  With a slotted spoon you served yourself that STIR FRY on top of the potato slices with the bacon strip on the side.  ALL SUMMMER that’s what they ate.  PAST FROST too... “
            “Don’t seem a MEAL I’d WEASEL for.  Even SALT and PEPPER won’t FIX a veg-ah-TABLE.  WENT DOWN to the CHURCH FEED SATURDAY.
            “You WEASELED?”
            “WHALE.  SEE... I said I’D PAY:  SIX DOLLARS they SAID.  WHALE... I said OK Fetchy DO IT.  It’s a GOOD FEED.  SO I STAND INSIDE and ELIZABETH sees me at my STAND.  SHE comes over and says MR. KEELER wanted me to HAVE a ticket.  OH I said and she says I have it RIGHT HERE.  OH I said and sure she DID HAND me a TICKET.  So then I STAND with my ticket.”
            “SEE; you WEASELED”.
            “WHALE... NOT YET I say.  SEE that ELIZABETH says to EVERYONE HAS TO GO INTO the CHURCH for a SERVICE before the FEED.  WHALE... I don’t LIKE THAT.  BUT WE ALL START OVER to the CHURCH DOOR.  Then Elizabeth comes OVER AGAIN and says Fetchy you don’t have to go to THAT.  Go into the FEED and get yourself a plate of HOT ROLLS and eat those while you WAIT for the others.  She says if MR KEELER says something to tell him to SEE HER.   So I went RIGHT OVER THERE.”
            “And got the rolls”
            “WHALE:  COURSE.  HOT rolls TOO JUST out of the OVEN.  I didn’t make a FUSS.  SAT over by the PORCH DOOR where they brought the TABLES in from OUTSIDE.  SAT THERE... you know... let them OTHERS have the HALL TABLES”.
            “Very KIND OF YOU, Fetchy.”
            “WHALE I got the WEASEL too.  I can GET OUT that PORCH door with my doggie bags.  I parked the truck UNDER the TREES right there.  SEE THEY make me UP a doggie but OH I GET few DOGGIES myself.  THAT Mrs. Taylor watched me with some more ROLLS but Elizabeth told her it was just ME being FETCHY.  THAT Mrs. Taylor you know; she’s the one that got me OUT of that CHURCH service.”
            “Mrs. Taylor?”
            “WHALE... she:  WHALE THEY MADE ME GO ONCE and SHE SEEN ME SIT in there and THEY SAY SHE wouldn’t SIT IN THAT PEW AGAIN.  I guess it was suppose to be HERS but I didn’t see THAT.  SO that way SINCE THAT they don’t MAKE ME GO.  SHE done that GOOD FOR ME I say.
            “NOW Fetchy:  THEY SAID; Crazy Karen and her NEW MAN, that TUESDAY THEY SEEN YOU up there AT TAYLORS hauling a load of TRASH for her.”
            “WHALE I WAS up THERE but I weren’t hauling TRASH.  GOT ME a GOOD LOAD FULL of HER trash but it’s MY CASH.  WEASELED you’d SAY.”
            “You weaseled Mrs. Taylor?”
            “She come; at the FEED, and said she had a DUMP LOAD needed HAULING.  FINE JERSEY I say.  She knows I know she LIVES in NEW JERSEY NOW.  So I go up.  This is at the NEW HOUSE.  So she has this PILED in that GARAGE.  So FINE I say but I can see I’m REALLY OK.  So I load all that quick in the truck.  She comes back out and says look at how all that truck is ALREADY IN THE TRUCK.  I say that’s the idea; whole truck full.  Well she looks at that and say Mr. Fetchy you done a good quick job for me how much do I owe you.  WHALE I say weasel to MYSELF but SHE don’t know that TRASH is TREASURE so I say TWENTY.  She says THERE YOU GO Mr. Fetchy.  Then we said about Mary ANNE but she don’t know where she is anymore.  But we said how long ago it is now isn’t IT.  WHALE it is.”
            “So what’s that LOAD?”
            “WHALE it’s HER TRASH”.
            “From the OLD HOUSE?”
            “WHALE NO!  SOME of it MUST BE that one HUSBAND’S.  SEVERAL BACK that one:  CADDIE.  The one that lived there in the WINTER.  Mr. Chickering right?  ‘Member HIM?”
            “BACK TWO FELLAS (husbands) AT LEAST.  Maybe NOW THREE.  But she AIN’T married NOW is SHE?”
            “I don’t know.  Pretty nasty all that.  Too much for me.”
            “WHALE.  Them FOOLS throw out EACH OTHERS TRASH.
            “So anything GOOD?”
            “WHALE... I went down to the gas station with THIS SIGN that said TOWING”.
            “Sign?  Towing?”
            “BIG WOOD SIGN that was for TOWING.  CAME from THAT GAS STATION I figure.  WHALE... I SAY it did.  So they say HOW MUCH.  I say four gallons.  THEY SAY SOLD.  SO... WHALE... they put it over by the BAYS.  I start pumping but I SAY WHALE while I’m LOOKING at the SIGN.  WHALE FIVE I say and fill THAT.  So they sees THAT and SAY FETCHY you weaseled.  I SAY NO I PAY THEN and TAKE MY SIGN BACK.  THEY say GO ON OFF FETCHY then.”
            “Sounds like it could be a good sign Fetchy.”
            “It ain’t.  It come from the DUMP.  THAT CADDIE took it from the DUMP.  ALL I GOT was HIS from the DUMP.  Probably won’t go BACK to the DUMP.  Figure:  WHALE... FIGURE.  I figure I SELL most of it.  I had that TWENTY dollars from Mrs. TAYOR if they MADE ME take the sign back.  LUCKY THERE.  THEY weaseled me I KNOW IT.”
            “I’ll go down and look at the sign and let you know”.
            “WHALE’ll SEE.  Who got WEASELED I think I know.”
            “Mrs. Taylor isn’t doing anything at the old house is she”.
            “No.  Drum TIGHT just the SAME.  I think she come back from New Jersey after she wears out this beau.  SHE WEASEL more than WE EVER WEASEL.  SHE and her fellas are the biggest WEASEL of US ALL.”

            “I did get a garden basket off of Mary Anne.  It come out of Mrs. Taylor’s old house; the one by the road.  Mary Anne used it at the new house.”
            “Mary Anne was Mrs. Taylor’s COOK they called her.  HIRED GIRL is what she WAS.”
            “You LOVED Mary Anne.”
            “WHALE... I DID love her.  She...  Whale...:  She’s a FINE woman”.
            “Coming from you Fetchy; she heard you say THAT and HEADED for the HILLS.”
            “Remember them cookies?  Oh DO I.  She knows to FEED A BOY cookies.  I did anything for HER.  ALL THAT FIREWOOD.  But she left.  HAVE A BABY.  THEY MARRIED.  AND THE BABY GREW UP; Paulie.  HE come here ONCE.  Come here.  I met him.  WHALE... time DOES GO BY.
            “I still have that basket.  It’s up on the shed floor.  HOT up there.  We can go up.”
            “WHALE Paulie... WHAT KIND OF NAME IS THAT.”
            “It’s PAUL”
            “I know that but they call him PAULIE”.
            “So they call you FETCHY”.

Gardiner's Garden Basket - Part One

Gardiner's Garden Basket

Part One

            “WHALE... eye’p... SUPPOSE.”
            “You suppose WHAT?”
            “WHALE...  eye’p.”
            “WHALE...” Old Fetch (“Fetchy” or “Old Fetchy”) said with a furtive glance at my face followed by a quick return of his eyes to contemplating the folded down tailgate of his pickup truck. “EYE’p SUPPOSE... you... don’t happen to have...” he says as his head and face lift back up from the tailgate gaze and peer into my face “.... .... a FAIR price... on the BASKET”.
            “I’m using the damn basket.”
            “Your using GARDINER’S basket”.
            “IT’S MINE.”
            “WHALE... eye’p... SUPPOSE”
            “You don’t want that basket.”
            “WHALE... I’ve always LIKED IT”.
            “Yeah but that was AFTER I got it.”
            “WHALE... I was THERE TOO.”
            “YOU COME BY... on weasel just like you always do”.
            “Weasel and you know it”.
            “I ALREADY had it IN the truck.  You seen it IN THERE.  THEN you’s STARTED.”
            “I already OWNED IT fair and square:  I already RESCUED IT.  It’s MINE.  I’m USING IT.”
            “Camp SEE that would MAKE the difference.”
            “CAN’T SEE that its over there FULL OF TOMATOES?”
            “Them summer gold is GOOD ain’t THEY”.
            “You want to buy it FULL don’t YOU.”

            “WHALE... could be full... eye’p... SUPPOSE”.
            “JESUS is YOU’S the WEASEL”.
            “WELL...” I mimicked.
            “Whale... MAYBE TODAY.
            “I ain’t gonna sell it to you
            “OK:  TWO TWENTY-FIVE.”
            “WHALE NOT THAT!”
            “Take it or... LEAVE IT.”
            “You just come by THINK’EN.”
            “WHALE:  SUMMER NOW... sees... WHALE...
            “Tomato season.”
            “Garden season.”
            “WHALE... BASKET season I SAY this morning.”
            “Yeah but that’s pretty special.  We’ve talked about THAT.
            “WHALE... that you don’t just SELL a BASKET like THAT”.
            “They buy ‘em... once they find out.
            “Find out?”
            “YOU had to FIND OUT”.
            “YOU DID and I remember it.”
            “YOU was GO’EN to her (talking a sales pitch) and that woman just TURNED and said I’LL BUY IT”.
            “Yes.  And you ain’t been the same since.  Good one too; early.  That old wire repair along the bottom.  Wire on the handle too.  Higgins’s farm... shed; found that one.”
            “WELL I HAD to take you DOWN TO THE RIVER and BAPTIZE YOU RIGHT THEN.”
            “WHALE... you did TEACH me.”
            “Some TEACH.”
            “You STILL ain’t got one YET.”
            “STILL STUCK on the one’s I GET.”
            “WHALE... I LOOK NOW.”
            “And come out with?”
            “And GET IN WITH.”
            “I AIN’T GONNA BEAT YOU.”
            “But you’ll WEASEL”.
            “WEASEL:  You’re the WEASEL.”
            “Just doing my job.”
            “Didn’t say a word either.”
            “Course you wouldn’t.
            “NOT ME:  THEM.  They wouldn’t KNOW a garden basket if it FARTED AT ‘EM.”
            “WHALE... they’d know SOME; that... WHALE... that HE USED IT:  Could know THAT.”
            “Maybe... maybe not.”
            “But you always know’d that basket I know.”
            “Not just THAT basket.  The whole GARDEN BASKET; all of ‘em.  I LOOK for those.  YOU know THAT.  Now YOU look for ‘em.  Because of ME you do.”
            “WHALE... THEY ARE SPECIAL.  Once you know.  I mean... WHALE... YOU KNOW your RIGHT.”
            “HIS (Gardiner’s garden basket) BE... Oh Jesus... Well... HIS wife’s MOTHER’S.  Then probably HER MOTHER’S.  That’s Wilton (Maine) way.  SO... THAT’S an early one.  SO HER MOTHER’S.  That FARM.  Let’s see:  THAT’S got to be twenty-five years ago NOW.  So... nothing in there.  So it got all the way over here.  He always said it was her MOTHER’S”.
            “BACK THERE; the FARM.  Don’t remember YOU IN THERE.”
            “Well... the basket’s eighteen fifties; Civil War.  So... probably... FIVE generations at least.
            “THEN GARDINER.”
            “No... him too.  His wife used it.  Probably they brought it over.  When the mother died.  That’s the usual way.  One uses it... dies... next one picks it up.”
            “Jesus how you know that... “
            “Well LOOK AT the DAMN basket.  It don’t GET like that from being USED BY YOU.  Got to be GENERATIONS.  And.  Of course... IT’S OLD; an OLD BASKET.  IT’S MADE right; OLD right.  ON the FARM most of ‘em.”
            “THAT ONE... Gardiner USED THAT ONE”.
            “Well I knew that when I went IN THERE.  I knew it was in there.  I took it right out.  Then you seen it.  In the truck.  I rescued it.
            “WHALE... I ain’t gonna PAY YOU.  But... I LIKE THAT ONE”.
            “I’ve found better than THAT.”
            “Some you have:  I seen.  But:”
            “I took it right out.  On the porch.  Right there.  Always right there in the summer.  Fall too.  They took it in after that; for the winter.
            “WHALE... now... eye’p suppose you SEEN that PHOTOGRAPH that the HISTORICAL SOCIETY has out.
            “OH you weasel; you JUST SEEN THAT?”
            “SEEN IT.  WITH THE BASKET”
            “Just the TOP”.
            “Yeah but... It’s THE BASKET.”
            “They’re sitting there just like always”.
            “WHALE... they was NINETY-FOUR”.
            “TWO:  Ninety-two”.
            “DIED TOGETHER.”
            “Four days”.
            “SHE DIED.”
            “Then Gardiner.  He said to me once that it was OVER when she dies.  He said that.
            “WHALE ...that was their WHOLE LIFE.
            “They first KISSED when they were FOURTEEN.”
            “WHALE THAT TOO”.
            “He used the basket when I’d visit him.  They should of got a picture of THAT.  Him in the garden.  She wouldn’t come out anymore.  He’d go out with the basket.  That’s where I first SEEN the basket.  Actually TRIED to buy it THEN.
            “SPECIAL I’d say”.
            “The basket”.
            “WHALE... that TOO.  But them two.  DEAD NOW.”
            “You figure that’s got to be a rare photograph for the baskets; the actual USERS pictured WITH their basket”.
            “It IS the basket.  I think about it; that basket.  Come over to SEE it.  Didn’t figure you’d be USING it.”
            “I do.  Not always.  I got quite a few I’ve taken out.  RESCUED  she (my wife) says.  I rotate ‘em.  Each one I know it.  You know; where I got it.  How I got it.
            “YOU SAY you just can’t BUY THEM.  Your right about that.  I DON’T EVER SEE one.  Now; I look TOO.”
            “Got to be found in the houses.  Rescued.  Too old and BEAT UP for the dealers.  THEY Don’t KNOW.   GARDEN BASKET; WHAT’S THAT.”
            “Well now I SEEN YOU sell ONE.”
            “Yeah but that’s AFTER they FIND OUT.”
            “Whale... Gardiner ‘ould SIT THERE WITH his basket.  Remember THAT?  It ‘ould be full too.”

Gardiner's Garden Basket - Part Four

Gardiner's Garden Basket

Part Four

            Leaving the tailgate of Fetchy’s truck we crossed the farm yard to a two story shed that was once a (horse and wagon) harness shop.  “Clomp, clomp, clomp” told me that Fetchy followed me up to ‘the shop’ and ... ‘clomp, clomp’... INTO the shop and... I went up the stairs to the second floor (at my very immediate right) WITHOUT clomping and... NOT hearing Fetchy clomping from behind so:
            “WHALE... just LOOK’EN.”
            “WHALE... eye’p... SUPPOSE.”
            I start to walk around the second floor of the shop ...that is filled with old (antique) baskets... and... the silence from below continues.

            “ALL OF THEM?”
            “EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY”.
            “GET UP HERE!”
            First I hear a sliding shuffle.  Then one clomp of Fetchy’s first boot step on the first stair step.  Then a PONDEROUSLY SLOW clomp, clomp, clomp of Fetchy ascending the stairs.  He whole steadily appears rising above floor level of the second floor stair portal... with this floor being a whole open space of old-old flooring... old-old rafters above... old windows covered with cloth and... old antique baskets ‘everywhere’.  At one third of him above the floor level...; at his armpits just above the floor level... he stops and puts his left arm out on the floor and... starts looking around and:
            “From YOU.”
            Pause and Fetchy’s face roams the second floor space in support of his eyes.
            “You don’t GET THOSE ...MUCH.

            “WHALE... HOW OLD IS THIS BUILDING?” Fetchy continues while his face supporting his eyes continues to ROAM (ROME?).
            “CIVIL WAR”.
            “WHALE... NICE AIN’T IT... UP HERE.”
            “WHALE...” he says starting to clomp up to the top of the stairs.  “EYE’P SUPPOSE.” he says standing fully erect at the stair top in his full ... MAINE JUNK MAN and TRASH PICKER ...over dressed for AUGUST... but could go deer hunting in November NOW... (including the ‘he’s wearing L. L. Bean boots!’)... regular and recently washed... so not too dirty... yet attire.  His form becomes ‘giant’ as he expands into the space; a lumbering standing bear sized man whom... in the farm yard appears ‘Maine normal” but the compressed space and subdued light of the old harness shop... turns him into an old work clothes wrapped Sasquatch to any eye.
            I look at him.  He’s looking at the baskets.  I continue to snap up selected ‘garden baskets’ off the piles of old baskets and set those out in a rectangular cluster near a window.  At the same time I form a line to one side of big-to-small baskets in front of a second window.  Fetchy ever more intently watches.  I quickly finish the assemblage.
            “WEREN’T THIS HERE WHERE THE (harness) SHOP WAS UP HERE?” Fetchy says.
            “Yeah.  Downstairs was farm.”
            “SEE THAT ROAD from UP HERE”.
            “ANYONE COME.”

            “We try to put ‘em all up here when we find them.”
            “Enough now.  GOOD ONES.  WHALE... SEEN THAT ONE AT JIMMY’S?”
            “No,  That one come out ‘Wicked’ Ames’ corn shed”
            “That ROUND shed?”
            “YOU GOT IN THERE.”
            “You WEASELED?”
            “I TRIED HIM.  Wouldn’t let me IN.  WHALE I say.”
            “I dropped a twenty.” (drop money on the ground to let ‘em see it – then pick it up.)
            “You dropped?  He took that?  YOU lucky WEASEL!”
            “Figured I should TRY it”.
            “It worked.  THIS ONE HERE’S was MARY ANNE’S” I say pointing to one basket in the assembled rectangle.  Fetchy looks toward my gesture.

            “You can REMEMBER that?”
            “COURSE.  I remember ALL that stuff.  Who wants to FORGET?”
            “WHALE... you DO FORGET.”
            “Not me on these; these garden baskets.  Every one’s always been a little special.”
            “I won’t know that one’s Mary Anne’s even though I SAW IT everyday there RIGHT.”
            “Yeah but you didn’t BUY IT.  That’s why; I FIND ‘em and buy ‘em.  I don’t forget ‘cause I’m always LOOKING to FIND ONE.”
            “WHALE you didn’t BUY THAT ONE.”
            “NO!  You know:  Mrs. Taylor PITCHED IT.  Reggie (another local trash hauler) fetched it.  I bought it off of HIM.”
            “WEASELED off of HIM.”
            “I bought the whole PILE.  HE’D weaseled that PILE for himself.
            “WHO WEASELED WHO?  Whale...  Just look’en HERE I SEE MR. WEASEL HIMSELF!” observed Fetchy surveying the whole old space full of ... old New England and Maine farm baskets.
            “Ain’t any old farm basket in an old Maine farm that’s safe from me.”
            “Put the weasel in the farm house I say. Why you LINING those up?”
            “Only the one in the middle’s a GARDEN basket.” I say adding a seventh very small basket to one end of the line.”
            “WHALE... what are THOSE?” Fetchy says pointing to the larger baskets at one end of the line.
            “TOO BIG”.
            “So those?” he continues pointing to the other end.
            “Berry baskets; real small.  Find WAY more of those.  I find... sometimes... FIVE or SIX in a place.  Berry picking you know; ‘UP the MOUNTAIN’.  EVERYONE has a BASKET.  A garden basket:  There usually JUST ONE.  See the size.”

            “WHALE... I like them BERRY baskets TOO.
            “Oh yeah me too.  But.  They’re just not as SPECIAL.  The way they (the garden baskets) were USED.  Everyday.  IN the garden.  All those years.  Generations.  JUST Mary Anne’s was probably used in Mrs. Taylor old house from when it was built (1870’s)”.  Then SHE (Mary Anne) moved it.  Then Mrs. Taylor pitched it.  She don’t have a garden anymore.”
            “WHALE... barely EVER had one.  Mrs. Taylor always been trying to LEAVE TOWN since she was a little girl; ‘FIND somewhere’ she call it.
            “She’s always been trying to find the whole universe.”
            “You KEEP Gardiner’s (garden basket) up in here?”
            “Yep.  Bring it back up.  Use another one.  Maybe use MARY ANNE’S for while huh?’
            Fetchy looks up at me.  He’d been surveying all the garden baskets while standing before Mary Anne’s.  Then he looks out over the floor filled with all the other baskets.  Then he looks back down at the rectangle of garden baskets.  Then he looks back up at me and says “WHALE... It seems to ME... that you can find the whole UNIVERSE in JUST ONE of these nice old GARDEN BASKETS.

The End