Epilogue Blood Farm 5
“Alice DID think about her THINGS.” I said. “She seemed, to me, to know them all very well. Not a technical expert in anyway BUT she dead-on knew HER things and LIVED those things too. She lived just as the family always had. She had been raised to live that way.”
The woman looked me in the eye. It was a meaningless look. She either didn’t understand or didn’t embrace what I had said. She still held the pitcher with both hands. I reached into the yellow ware lots and picked up the small cup. From that I plucked the small broken sliver, rolled it between my thumb and index finger and presented it for viewing before the woman. She looked down upon it.
“This is a tiny fragment from a blue seaweed mocha yellow ware object that was just like these whole ones. Probably from a mustard, salt or pepper pot. Alice found this. Probably she found it digging in her garden or along the house foundation by the doors. At the least, she found it in her travels in the neighborhood; by the side door of a neighbor’s house for example. Spotted on the ground just after she’d knock on the door. She knew what it was and picked it up. When she was back in her kitchen she washed it, inspected it and put it in the cup for safe keeping. The biggest miracle is it making it all the way to the auction today without getting lost.” I said and then paused to look at the woman’s face. It was still a meaningless look but it WAS focused on the tiny china fragment.
She looked up a me.
“TO ME.” I said straight to her face. “This is a MESSAGE from ALICE about this yellow ware and how SHE felt about it AND understood it. She LOVED it all as objects AND LOVED IT ALL as FAMILY. Her finding and preserving THIS fragment”, I continued “proves HER commitment AND understanding of Blood Farm and all of her things. She was her own curator of her own museum that was created by all seven to eleven generations of her family. And, apparently, YOUR family TOO. She, here, sends you a message about HER feelings about all this yellow ware. And it’s a DAMN GOOD MESSAGE TOO.”
The woman set down the pitcher with the other seaweed yellow ware, took the fragment sliver from my finger tips into hers, carefully scrutinized it, looked up at me and said “How do you know all this?”
I paused and then said “It’s my job.”
She looked at the sliver again and then …put it back in the small cup that I was still holding. I couldn’t tell ANYTHING; if she got ANY of this or did not get …anything I had said … at all. As ten seconds ticked silently and very slowly off I …did not see her follow-up expression for I was struck by two notions. First I realized the auction preview must nearly be over. Second, from across the hall I could see the fire chief staring at the woman and I… in a very fire chief knowing manor. At the end of ten seconds, as I stared at the fire chief, the woman said “What else are you going to buy?”.
“Buy?” I heard myself say as I looked back at the woman’s face while also noticing her sister staring at me behind her. “Oh, well… I WAS going to bid on the desk but that looks like it will sell too high for ME.” I said as a declaration.
“OH WE are going to BUY THAT TOO.” she said right back.
“You are? Well. Fine. Good. You should be OK but it will sell for a lot” I said regrouping internally to the extent that I, while speaking, realized the trio of dealers inspecting the desk earlier WOULD “keep bidding” once the seven started their bidding. AND realizing… that I was already “out” of all this. “You should do very well today as long as you buy the things you like. There are some very nice things here today but I am not expecting to buy anything.”
“Not buy ANYTHING” she said.
“We will not be able to buy everything we want TODAY because the auctioneer is planning a second sale this summer. THAT’S when he is selling the GRANDFATHER clock”.
“Second sale?” I said. “With the clock?”. I FORGOTTEN about the clock. The auctioneer hadn’t. “Summer sale?” I said to myself. THESE PEOPLE HADN’T FORGOTTEN ABOUT THE CLOCK. And probably caught the auctioneer off guard when they …spoke to him about it. I started flashing old and vague mind views of Alice’s collection tour in my head while realizing… painfully… that it is REALLY HARD to remember what was in an estate when you no longer HAVE the objects TO LOOK AT. “MY GOD” I said internally “the auctioneer successfully played musical chairs with the contents of Blood Farm and now it is scattered and VANISHING. “Do you know what happened to Alice’s papers in the desk?” I said.
The woman paused, looked in my eyes and then said. “Yes. WE ASKED about those. He says that the lawyer is giving the family papers to the historical society. “Did you know that?”
“No. But I knew Alice had the desk full of her family paper collection. Today that desk is empty and there are no papers in sight”.
“No. The desk is empty with no papers insight.” She repeated.