Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Maine Critters. After the Fourth of July

Maine Critters

After the Fourth of July

            Maine Critters:
            You don’t know what I mean by that and you don’t have any contact with them.  You could have seen one.  See one.  Think you see one.  Wonder if ‘that’s one’
            “That Fella.”  You wouldn’t even say that.  Out loud.
            “You’ve been BY ‘em; been CLOSE to one?  You say?
            I don’t think so.  Mister.

            They don’t like July.  “Too hot”.  So they are ornery.  And circulate amongst themselves.  They don’t “do anything like that” (“put the boat in”) (“crap”).  They “GO UP TO CAMP.”  Mostly... if they have one.  A camp.  But MOST of the Maine Critters... do not have a ‘camp’ to ‘go to’ and
            LIVE IN a ‘camp like’.... NO IT AIN’T ‘camp like’:  Those are OTHER camps other people “OWN” that are... ‘camp like...’ sort of ...like a Maine Critter’s
            HOUSE (HOME).
            There we go:  NOW we are starting off the trail and into ‘the brush beside that trail.  NOT that you’d KNOW THAT (you going off the trail) even when
            YOU SMELL IT.
            So we’ll go back and walk through again.

            Maine Critters do not like July.  It is too hot.  They stay home at what fancy folk try to emulate and title their “camp”.  But Critter Camps are THEIR HOME.  What does that mean?  Well we start with “no power” (electricity) “except”.  That last word, when linked to “power” is a whole ‘on-going’ subject.  That I don’t have to touch.  Because it is JULY so
            A Maine Critter “doesn’t need it” (power) “Now”.
            Then there is “water” (at a Critter’s home).  Explanation words include “well”, “spring”, “carry in” and “don’t have it” (“running water”)
            No bathroom (in the B, B and Beyond) sense.  Or in your mind’s eye “camp” sense.
            Nope:  There is a ‘shit house’ (outhouse) that... in July... is not seeing the same usage it sees in January.  “IN JULY... I GOT THE WHOLE DAMN MAINE WOODS to SHIT IN so what do I want to USE (mess up) THAT (the outhouse) FOR?”.
            Food:  Crackers.  Peanut butter.  Cheese.  And:  “There IS a LOT of food around” for Critters... in Maine... in July.  They probably are not as “interested” in a salad dressing  you “I MADE” and would probably eat ALL the radishes on a “BUNCH” without your notice or comment until “AFTER” “THEY WERE GONE”.  YES they (Maine Critters) stew Dandelion greens but that was
            BACK IN THE SPRING.
            This is JULY.  “TOO HOT” to stew anything.  Or is it?

            When I know ‘critters’ are ‘about’ during the heat of July mornings I know because I am told.  They say to me, for an example...; a come forth from the mouth of a retired barber from ‘around Boston’ (a ‘Masshole’):  “YOUR MAKING ME HOT JUST LOOKING AT YOU”.  He means the wool cap I am wearing.  The cotton bandana (old Boy Scout neckerchief) I am wearing.  The wool “FILSON” shirt I am wearing.  The long leg ‘old chino’ (Bean’s) VERY LOOSE (“too big”) fit (and field use dirty) “pants” (Critters do not wear ‘blue jeans’) WITH SUSPENDERS... and a belt... (all critters wear them both) and... wear the, traditionally, tall  (full standard lace) Bean Boots... I am too... wearing.  For the record this is too... a... standard... ‘not worried about ticks’ outfit.
            HE (the barber from Masshole) is wearing... “camp moccasins” with no socks, faux Madras shorts, a shirt that suggests he plays polo and an up front belly the size of a small beer keg ‘hanging over’ “his balls”.  No hat.  That ‘this’, then, is the separation of church and state of...
            Maine Critters.
            I ain’t taking my shirt off to please that guy.  NO I am not taking my BOOTS off.  I don’t care if you ‘get bit’ from not wearing a bandana.  YOU can get the damn tick at your hair line off.  I don’t want to... and never do (find one) “ON ME”.

            So at five in the morning one critter confided to me that he’d “started a fire’ when he got up.  That morning.  It is a ‘hotter than Hell’ July ‘didn’t go below seventy last night’ morning in Maine and this guy (critter) ‘started a fire’ in his woodstove to KEEP WARM.  Okay now we’re getting somewhere.  RIGHT?
            How many layers is he wearing?
            NOW we’re getting somewhere.  RIGHT?  Five layers? (shirts).  DOWN from seven layers a “MONTH AGO”.  Oh you don’t think so?  Yeah well when you get to ‘peel off’ layer FOUR your gonna know by nostril your getting into ‘old’ territory.  His bare chest has, simply, NEVER seen daylight that ‘anyone can remember’.

            In July, Maine Critters... “come out from camp” (leave their remote home) and “of course” (as always, year round “anyway”) attend the flea markets.  July offers ‘outdoor’ flea markets in addition to the year round ‘indoor’ flea markets.  Critters attend both in July.  And.
            It’s the ‘and’ I nuance.  Foremost, understand that in July (and year round for that matter) a ‘flea market’ is not only considered a safe haven to appear in public for a Maine Critter but is also a sort of dock in the ‘out and about’ world of a Maine Critter that they may, at any time of need ...paddle over to and hold on to when paddling their canoe upon the lake of ‘out and about’.  NOW that may be of little consideration especially if one views the Maine Critter’s world as being socially misfit, miss begot and ...just simply (you) missed (it).  Maine Critters are very sensitive to NOT attracting your attention.  So a “beat ass back to the flea market” is the full blown game plan ‘emergency evacuation route’.  NOT that you’d notice.
            Until we get to the “It’s the ‘and’ I nuance”.

            The Maine Critter’s world view includes a heavy view value placed on ‘food’... notably ‘bear bait’ food such as cookies, donuts, breads, breads filled with anything, breads made by farmer’s daughters neatly wrapped with little handmade labels saying ‘what it is’ including the visual support of a big gob of homemade ‘her raspberry jam’...  And...:
            In July
            Rhubarb pie.
            No ‘Rhubarb and’ pie.  JUST

But the nuance is the source... of the bear bait offerings:  “Farmer’s Markets”, so called... and often found suspiciously (conveniently) close to a ‘flea market’.  This, applied to the ‘paddle to’ dock denoted above, allows the Maine Critter an irresistible ‘drawn to’ bear bait trap that forges, as a blacksmith hammers a horseshoe on an anvil, a singular world of Maine Critter notice.  These old critters and the farmer’s market farmer’s daughters have a mutual border world they share, inclusive of the ‘known-to-critters’ denotation that the critters “ogle” a bit too.  But the nuance
            Is the Rhubarb Pie
            In July. (“Is she still making ‘em?”)
            I won’t go so far as to say “I SEE” a whole rhubarb pie ‘set out’ in a truck cab for a “MISTER WILLARD WHEN HE COMES BY YOU KNOW HE (can talk with wild ducks he says)”.  Mr. Willard has five shirts on
            In July.
            But he also brought along a little ‘witch stick’ he whittled himself and that ends up sitting on the truck seat when he leaves.  His cash payment for the “He buys one from me every week” pie is always “put in her pocket I watch her do that”.  I said ‘ogle’ above.  “I’ve always liked milk maids” Mister Willard told me once.

            It’s a special relationship, now quite common in Maine... at flea markets and farmer’s markets:  Critters and local baked goods.  “Coffee” is another ‘plus’.  Yes, Mister Willard and his fellows know a ‘good cup’ of “her coffee”.  They retreat back to the flea market to “eat” and then
            “GO BACK”.
            Yep... the whole damn morning is filled with what I just... it is NOT a ‘five minute deal’.  The critters know who, what, why, how and ‘did she MAKE’ “THIS WEEK”.  They know.  They hunt.  They track.  They sight in.  And don’t get their belly too full for then they don’t shut-up.  And that includes the ‘ogle’.  You can see it coming.  Send in the tow truck and tow the critter away before he...:  “Time for you to go back to camp Mr. Willard.”
            It is a fine line

            But it is real human interaction.  It is not on the cyber space.  It is, too, a mutual fascination.  For example:  What starts as a suggestion that including a ‘strip of bacon’ to go with a broccoli / spinach stuffed “roll” (every baked good, excepting ‘cookie’, ‘donut’ and ‘pie’ is a “roll” to a critter.) ends in a ‘I know those bugs too mine had it I got rid of them with that LAVENDER dish soap the GAL sells down at the WATERFRONT (farmer’s) market”.  You don’t need to understand what they are talking about.  It’s just a couple of Maine Critters chatting at ‘the market’.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Painted White

Painted White

            It is very difficult
            To find and collect
            An object
            That is
            Puritan New England

            This collecting of object is
            Not of an object that is ABOUT Puritan New England but is...
            An object that IS Puritan New England.

            Yes:  THAT clears THAT up.  Doesn’t it.
            And then “old”; (early) dates:  Sixteen whatever... and keeping both the Middle Ages’ design influence of “Pilgrim Style” AND the “was burned” (primitive English settlement structures ‘burned’ “by them”) (“the Indians”)... at the mind’s eye front...:
            Then back to object.  And dates... relative to ‘settlement’ and the... falling away of the primitive English stock of that ‘early’ (“earlier”) “dirt floor” (object) settlement.  Okay so 1760 is “LATE” and 1740 is “FAIR” and 1720 is five years before English New England settlement was “cleared” of “Indians” and
            1704 was the Deerfield Raid and the resulting
            Deerfield Door to the Deerfield INDIAN HOUSE.  Hatchet marks.  The hole.  The peen nail boards.  The preserved door frame.  The Indian House was torn down in 1848.  They saved the door.  The Indian House Door is a shrine... to this day.

            “DOOR you say.  OLD DOOR”.  Salvaged old door; an Indian door from an Indian “RAID”.  Hatchet chopped hole... or is it tomahawk chopped door hole?  “Belt axe?”.  Is it?
            No... it is not a Puritan door; a ‘godly” door.  Or is it.
            It is a shrine.  One may not collect it.  One may, actually, collect objects about
            This object but I
            No.  I always do look at those (the ‘about objects’)... very closely (scrutinize).  No particular reason for doing that.  Just old school fascination.  I gather.  It is not a Godly door.  It is not a Puritan door.  Or is it?  Anyway... it is a shrine.  I accept that; it IS my heritage concisely.

            NOT MANY ‘much of church goers’ in MY family.  That’s that.  NOT many ever ‘stood’ as shadows of their sins.  No.  Not cold winter mornings walking there.  Standing there.  Kneeling there.  Praying there.  No... and that (not church going) is all covered as early New England history anyway.  No:  They didn’t go to church.  My people did not.  And still don’t.  Walked by the damn buildings.  Damned walking by damn buildings?  Of course... but never show it.  Just stick it on the shirt cuffs and walk by.  “Deacon”.

            Door:  Church door.  The big ones on the front of the building (church)... have long been understood to be outstanding design specimens of early New England.  Their wood.  “Fitted” wood.  Their hardware.  Hand forged wrought iron ‘door’ hardware... preferably of extra effort scale and craftsmanship.  “Prominent Feature”.  “ART”.  But hard to collect.  Too big to ‘take home’ and “hang” in ‘the collection’.  The big hole upon the building from doing that would leave the front of the old New England church... wide open... to have ‘em chasing you down the street... right away
            And anyway...
            Most of those doors are not old enough
            To be Puritan New England...
            Anyway (“too late”).

            So what is a tomahawk mark of the Puritan church... going church?  “Ahhhh....”
“They tore most of those down”.  And built a better one (church buildings).  By the mid seventeen hundreds the old ‘first churches’ were being ‘torn down’ to build ‘better ones’ (the ones with the grand front doors).  “Meeting House”; yes THAT’S the old WORDS for it.  Understand that the old ones were the first ones near the first settlements and those ‘first ones’ then were the first ones to build the new ones and
            Tear down the first ones;
            The ‘old’ meeting house.
            Many (“some”) survived and are... mostly... “painted white”.  That is not the way they were at first (‘painted white’).  I remind... like... who had any white paint
            Was the white paint a sort of commemorative paint job?  That argument could be pushed.  I’m not.  I know the difference.  The difference?  Early Colonial New England meeting houses that have NOT been painted white are... ‘very rare’.  And... the INTERIOR of the early meeting house that has ...NEVER BEEN PAINTED (white) is...
            Very Rare.  Don’t trust me.  Go look for yourself.  White paint... covers up the shadow of sin that the early New England meeting house... that was the ‘before’ the fine 18th century New England church... was
            Torn down.
            Or preserved; ‘painted white’.
            It is very hard to collect a Puritan New England object that has not been
            Painted white. 

            I did... I do.  Collect.  Puritan New England... that has not been painted white.  Not that I “keep”; I am a antiques dealers so ‘don’t ... keep’.  “It’s for sale”.  And when you do not buy it... then please leave it alone.  Puritan New England that has not been painted white does not need a ‘you’ to... bother with it.  Go paint something else white.

  What I offer are two old doors.  They are very old New England doors that have never been painted ANYTHING ever.  No.  They are both old New England first growth White Pine coastal forest wood... and nothing else excepting the natural oxidation coloring to the finished wood surface.  Only that for two hundred and fifty years (1750) (at least).  Okay... “earlier”; 1740.  Anyway... they are old ‘never painted’ ‘doors’.
            They are meeting house pew box doors.  Or:  They are old doors to meeting house pew boxes.  Doors... to a ‘box’ in a meeting house.  A meeting house ‘sold’ (at auction) pew boxes in the meeting house.  Each pew box had a door.  That opened and closed access to the pew box.  For the owner.  When the meeting house was built, the pew box doors were ‘hung’.  When the meeting house was torn down, the pew box doors were... torn down too.  And ‘pitched out’.  If the meeting house ‘survived’, it was, most often, painted white.  The pew boxes and their door ‘were too’ painted white.  But going back to the moment of ‘pitched out’... did they; someone... “from the family” “TAKE THE DOOR” to their pew box... take it home and ‘keep it’.  That could have happened... couldn’t it?  Yes.
            Where... did they put it?  Oh how about ‘upstairs’ in ‘the shed’.  “THAT’S A GOOD PLACE FOR IT!”  Then they leave it there for two hundred years until the day I am up there... in the old garrets... and spy it and... purloin it... with very little fanfare I assure you.  And it (the old pew box door)... is never painted
            The Old Indian House Door was never painted white either.  “NEAT!”

            Puritan New England early meeting house pew box doors.  Never painted.  Original as intended plain New England White Pine Coastal Forest ‘wood’ with a naturally oxidized surface.  Looking for details?
            My eye amplifies the oxidation surface shadow of the once present now removed ‘butterfly’ iron hinges (that ‘hung’ the door) inclusive of their ‘took those too’ handmade rose head nail holes.  One door had a lock.  Now removed.  One ‘locked’ their pew box?  One could and did.  KEEP them OUT.
            One door has its top rail.. for the human hand.  The other door has lost its.  No matter.  BOTH have a single wide pine wood beveled panel “FRAMED” with mortised and pegged.... thumbnail molded... BELOW the open ‘gate’ that includes, on each, two lathe turned maple ‘spindle decoration’.  Those are an absolute last gasp of old English Pilgrim Style:  An absolute last gasp that screams the object title:  “Pew Box Door”.  “THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW”
            When you see it (the spindles in the open ‘gate’).
            Denote that ‘old door’ up in the old garret when your ‘looking around’
            For something that IS Puritan New England
            And not ‘painted white’.

            (“Puritans didn’t paint?”)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Field

The Field

            “At the second fork on the (dirt) road, after the taking the left road at the first fork on the (dirt) road, bare left again and come up the hill.  Once over (crested), it’s on the left right along”.  The Field
            Is on the left, right along.
            “Looks like it’s been driven over”.  Mowed.  Then driven over some more.  Once there was a little wooden sign saying ‘The Field’.  Once.  Now someone puts up a cardboard sign once in a while.  Sort of - maybe.  Everyone knows where it is already anyway.”
            “The Field”.
            That’s about it for small talk.  About where your going.
            They don’t like it, they say, when they drive over it before it’s mowed.  Who’s they and who’s the other they?  None of anyone’s business.  Actually there isn’t a real first ‘they’; an ‘owner’ they.  “No one OWNS it”:  “The Field”.  The first ‘they’ takes the hay off.  And sells it.  It’s not good hay.  But they take it off.  And don’t like it (having the hay) driven over.
            The second they wants the field mowed and don’t like it when they have to drive over it not mowed.  They don’t care about the hay or about tics or ANY snake in the grass.  They just want it mowed so they don’t have to wade around in the tall grass.  They are ALL dressed for that.  These fellas... they can walk out into the woods at the end of The Field and
            Never come back.
            Oh they’ll come out on that Appalachian Trail somewhere.  When they want to.  Their boots won’t be wet.  And you won’t notice ‘em.  Either.  Keep that in mind when your trying to figure out what the men at The Field look like.  Most of them are sinewy rascals who can carve a sixteen foot canoe with their jackknife.  In the middle of nowhere:  In the Maine Woods.

            That’s where we are.  In the Maine Woods.  At “The Field”.  Yeah it’s ‘up there’ but not as far up there as you think.  You ain’t going there so don’t THINK you are.  Nope.  Everyone will know if your coming.  Before you know.  Your not coming.  That’s why ‘The Field’ works the way it does and ...does the way it works.  The Field don’t need a sign and it don’t need to be mowed.  Just show up.  If
            You know where it is.
            And know what to do

            Character One said he counted “forty-two guns” for sale the other morning  “**** HAD FIFTEEN”.  “Had twenty” was what a second character verified to me later.  “That’s a lot” said Character One.  NOW JUST BE a little CLEAR about what a one of these “guns” actually is.  Before you go off accidentally not knowing what your talking about.  These (old) guns are, very much for the most part, NOT what your stupid mind’s eye THINKS they are.  Nope.  The guns, for the vast most part, are old Maine farm ‘guns’.  That is, they are mostly rifles (and/or ‘a shotgun’) made in the 20th century that were never very good (quality) or ever intended to be very good and are very well known to be the ‘guns’ that an average Maine (hardware) store in an average Maine village “always” “sold” over the counter to “anyone” “cheap”
            One could buy the same sort of gun as a ‘hand’ ‘gun’ (“pistol”)
            This... is not going to Abercrombie and Fitch OLD STYLE to buy a gun or “GOING DOWN TO BEANS”.  That latter was a very special expedition.  “Basically”
            I am talking about JUNK 20th Century U.S.A. made “cheap” (cost and quality) “GUNS”.  Maine.... and Maine farms... always had “A LOT” “of them”.  For example, IF MOM AND DAD had six children ‘at the farm’ EVERYBODY, including Mom and Sis, ‘had a gun’.  Or two.
            OR THREE.
            And ‘some’ ammunition... some of the time.  The aspect / prospect of that is....:
            “Ammo costs money”.  Being out of one (money or ammo) means one could be out of the other TOO.  Any twelve year old  Maine farm boy with a ‘twenty-two’ knows what I just said:
            “I have one bullet”.

            But the bigger point is... many (lots of) ‘old’ ‘cheap’ ‘Maine farm’ ‘guns’ (rifles and hand guns) “are around” “in Maine”.  A very many a lot.  AND
            These old guns are bought and sold... a very many a lot.  And they look just like what I said they are... lined up on a saw buck table top.  Sort of.  Car hood.  Sort of.  Truck tailgate down sort of.  Car trunk open sort of.  “GATHER ROUND BOYS I’M SELLING MY GUNS”.  At the field.

            Now just keep being a little careful here about ‘snap judgments’ and other cosmetic criteria.  FAT AS BUTTER one boy is.  No driver’s license.  No house.  No street address.  Pool hall ‘after nine’ is a working address.  Telephone calls that are pay as you go and can be thrown out too.  “No one’s home.  No one answers”.  Was it TWENTY guns they said he had; ‘a trunk load’.  Of old cheap made in USA Maine farm guns.  Who has that many guns
            “You better stay clear or YOU might be the one getting CAUGHT”.
            “One of ‘em ‘ill be USED in a ROBBERY.”
            “Said he SOLD fourteen hundred ($1,400.00) the other morning (before 7:00 AM).”
            At two hundred dollars per gun... that means he sold seven guns.  Out of fifteen.  Or was it twenty.  Or was it more; more guns cheap.  More cheap ...old Maine FARM guns.  “Got ah LOT of THOSE”.
            Who said that?  A little ‘low rent’ gun dealer(s).  “SEEMS TO ME... (****)... he come AROUND and said to him he’d TAKE thirty of his worse guns down to
            The Field
            For him and ‘sell ‘em’ for commission.  He didn’t get thirty.  But he did get twenty
            Old Maine farm guns.  “CAN’T SELL THEM DAMN THINGS TO ANYONE
            Except to them rigs at
            The Field.
            “Yep:  Rigs at The Field”.  Didn’t that just make sense
            To you?

            NOW you know where The Field is.  Don’t you.  Just didn’t quite lean your old gun up next to the umbrella stand aside the FRONT DOOR.  At first.  “When I was a kid Daddy kept it there.  I never moved it.  Never.  Grandpa did:  His gun Daddy ALWAYS said.  Been there leaned up... probably the BARREL’S PLUGGED.  By now.  Old gun.  AIN’T IT.  HOW MUCH YOU GIVE ME FOR THAT, you said,
            OLD GUN?”
            “No just FIVE.  Rusted old CRAP.”
            “Stock’s chipped”.
            “YOU SAY SO?”
            “Ginny Rock’s got TWO of ‘em for sale for TWENTY EACH.  Both are MINT.  NEVER FIRED you’d SAY.
            “Ginny Rock is a CHEAT”
            “He’ll give me all the guns I want to sell for him.”
            “Don’t say that about a cheat.”

            So one trunk full of old guns shows up at The Field.  Other guns show up on truck tailgates.  Dash boards.  Duffle bags.
            “ALL KINDS OF BAGS”.  Full of guns.
            Old guns; old Maine farm guns:  “WHEN’S the LAST TIME you think THAT ONE was
            Two hundred dollar gun?
            Five dollar gun?
            Twenty-five dollar gun?  You’d know the difference.
            Wouldn’t you?  “The barrel’s up front and the trigger’s BACK THERE.”
            “NO I DON’T HAVE ANY BULLETS.”
            “Probably better close the trunk and drive away.  Seems to me that fella over there... I can’t figure him right.  Seems to me.  One or two guns is okay.”
            “You say?”
            “I don’t want him making me poop in my pants”.