Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Shed Door Is Open

"WHOA! WHOA! Whoa, whoa, whoa! BACK UP! THAT SHED DOOR IS OPEN! ….I ain't ever seen it open in twenty years… BACK UP! … GOOD!" said Lane (Lane Copper) and he got out of the truck.
We were coming down the mountain into an interior Maine village after a house-call-gone-bad …back up the mountain. Lane regularly takes me "on a call". Only about half ever produce purchased antiques. BUT I do get to spend the day riding around in the middle of nowhere with Lane AND do, half of the time, "buy something". Today's call… they "didn't want to sell". We headed home. We'd gone about four miles.
As I got out of the truck Lane was already rapping on the shed's door frame with his fist and yelling into the shed doorway "HEY ANYONE IN THERE ANYONE HI? IT'S LANE COPPER COMING BY THIS MORNING AND I GOT A FELLA HERE FROM THE COAST BUYING OLD TRUCK TODAY I SEE YOU GOT SOME TO SELL HE'S PAYING CASH!". An older man; an "old duff" (Lane's term) back in the shed started to appear from that interior looking just as blasted as you the reader after having that verbal barrage land upon him. He appeared to be putting away some cans of white house paint. "SELLING ANYTHING? YOU GOT ENOUGH I SEE!" Then "COME UP HERE!" he yelled to me waving his… old and ripped safety orange hunting sweatshirt covered arm… at me even though I WAS "here" and leaning hard on the door frame with the other arm while… the old duff kept coming to that door. "YOUR FULL AS MARTHA WASHINGTON'S ATTIC IN HERE SO LETS DO AH THIN'EN OUT… Jesus… CAN'T EVEN GET IN… DAMN TOOLS. HOW MUCH FOR THOSE?"
"I not selling THOSE" the duff said looking hard at Lane. " I USE THOSE. Do I know you?"
"BOUGHT IT CASH SHOW HIM YOUR MONEY!" he says turning to me. I promptly displayed a roll of cash with a rubber band around it… that… JUST HAPPENED to pop off right then… and… the cash dropped to the ground and… started to spread like …blowing leaves. "JESUS!" said Lane and started to grab twenty dollar bills including TWO right down in front of the duff as HE started to bend for them. "SEE HE GOT CASH WE'RE PAYING CASH FOR TRUCK LET'S SEE WHAT YOU WILL SELL HOW ABOUT THAT BASKET TWO DOLLARS CASH!"
"I USE that basket. My SEED basket."
"That one's BROKE! See. HOLE in the bottom."
"Two dollars? …You have that one."
I did.
"FOUR FOR THAT CHAIR!" pointing to a chair sitting on a bale of hay.
"No. I sit in that.
"I used to… when I was a kid." The old duff said looking at a chair lying on it's side on a woodpile in front of a window. "Two… for that one… ….well … I guess so… take it"
"PAY HIM CASH!" Lane said to me pulling the chair off the woodpile. He set it outside the shed. Another basket fell off of the woodpile when he did this, along with a couple of cardboard boxes. He'd already handed me the first basket and it was on the ground behind me headed toward the truck. "ANOTHER BASKET TWO DOLLARS FOR THAT ONE TOO" Lane shouted. The duff picked up the basket, looked it over and handed it to Lane. I handed the duff two dollars. The duff looked at the, now, six dollars cash in his hand, squared it, folded it, put it in his shirt pocket and… looked up at Lane who immediately said "NOW THOSE WOODEN CRATES ONE DOLLAR EACH FOR AS MANY AS YOU SELL ME". The duff turned to the stack of crates just visible in the dim light back in the shed. We all stepped toward them… inside the shed.

An hour and one hundred and forty-seven dollars "CASH!" later we were …headed back down the mountain again only this time the truck was full. Lane was happy. Happy, HAPPY, happy; "a day's pay". "GIVE ME SUMP-THUN GIVE ME SUMP-THUN GIVE ME SUMP-THUN GIVE ME SUMP-THUN!" he was saying like he always does. I started handing him twenty dollar bills from my shirt pocket… as I drove. "THAT'S NUFF!" he said "You GOTTA MAKE SUMP-THUN DIDN'T DRIVE UP HERE FOR FREE GOOD DAY THOUGH… GOOD DAY YOU KNOW WHAT I'M KEEP'EN DON'T YOU TELL JAMES (James Hutton, the antiques dealer Lane is suppose to work for) YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS I'M KEEP'EN YOU DON'T TELL… YOU'LL GET IT ANYWAY AFTER I DONE LOVE'EN IT JAMES DON'T WANT IT IT'S BROKEN AIN'T IT A COCKER NO ONE ALIVE EVER BEEN IN THAT SHED IF THAT IN THERE NO ONE ALIVE I THE FIRST ONE WATCHED THAT DOOR TWENTY YEAR I TELL YOU NEVER SEEN IT OPEN.
One should be able to deduce that a day with Lane is a real antiques hunter's day. He found a decorated redware pie plate in the shed. Early (1820 or earlier), very authentic and having a very old and early chip out of it, he'd grabbed it right up and made me pay the "ONE DOLLAR BROKEN TOO BAD". He will keep that a year or two. Please notice that regardless of what one may feel toward Lane, he not only knows the antiques well but truly loves them.

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