Epilogue Blood Farm 10
Not all of the contents of Blood Farm went off the end of the earth “as slick as a platter of greasy bacon at a hunting camp breakfast”. An older gentleman at the third Uncle’s auction I visited supplied the greasy bacon image when defining what HE was hearing little birds tell him “about some estate”. I hadn’t seen him in a while but we re-acquainted as we both started coming to “every auction”. Or the preview at least. I rarely stayed at the auction past the first half hour.
A year into my vigilant patronage I was surprised at the preview to discern, across the hall and in the shadow of the back wall, the fire chief comprehensively examining four boxes of old Maine license plates. I didn’t do or say anything except to weigh that his concentration was deep. After loosing myself in the preview crowd while poking through box lot rubbish that I HOPED would be from Blood Farm but was not, I was patted on the back by the fire chief who opened conversation with “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
Knowing that he’d never been here and I’d always been here since I last saw him I figured to play dumb was best so responded in aggressive jest that “I come up to BUY THE LICENCE PLATES.”
A facial expression mix of rage, panic and disbelief froze the fire chiefs face and stuttered his voice. “I…”.
I smiled at his face
“CAME FOR THOSE” he finished.
“I know. I see you poking them over there.”
“I CAME FOR THOSE.”
“Yes, I see that”.
“YOU DID TOO?”
“NO. You can have them.”
“NO? BUT YOU SAID I”
“NO: JUST… JOKING YOU”.
“I haven’t seen you since the Blood Farm sale.”
“THOSE ARE FROM THERE TOO. HERE. They’re selling them HERE. I know them. That’s them. I know them once I looked in the boxes.
“You know the license plates are from Blood Farm? You saw them there?”
“They were always there. In the car shed by the barn. They kept the car there. All their cars always. Always saved the plates. Nailed them on the rafters. All of them in order. Every year ever. NICE!”
“In a shed. I didn’t see them”.
“COURSE NOT. They were in the car shed. I seen them first with my MOTHER. I was LITTLE. EVER since then I wanted THAT SHED. Told my wife. She says what would I do with it. I told her I’d put it in the back yard and go and sit in it. Just sit in it. She said I’m crazy. But she don’t know”.
“You want the whole shed?”
“BEAUTIFUL. I’d put the car in it. It’s just like my dream of my old car garage with everything OLD that’s in it. You know: EVERYTHING. They kept ALL their car stuff EVER in there. Oil cans gas cans every light tires broken rims iron junk paint fixes even BATTERIES. All NEAT STACKED. GONE NOW. IT’S ALL GONE. They took it” he said gesturing toward the front of the hall. “They TOOK IT. AND LOCKED IT. Couldn’t even SEE in. It was NEVER LOCKED before.
“Alice had a car?”
“OH…. an old one.
“She drove it?”
“It’s still there?”
“Oh… she sort of SOLD it”.
“It’s still around. If you know what I mean.” He smiled at me.
I think I knew. “What was it?”
“Sixty-three (Ford) Galaxy 500 silver with red trims.” He said and then surveyed the hall. “I’m gonna buy those PLATES.” he said above me as a sort of broadcast.
I left him alone. He bought the plates. They made him pay. He had the car too. That was two dominos that didn’t fall off the edge of the earth. But even he knew and said it; “It’s all gone now. What he really loved and wanted; the whole car shed as it had been when he saw it with his mother WITH the car in it…: After Alice died… and as she said “Then it is gone”.
Before this meeting and… it is always hard to admit this stuff… a couple of weeks after the big auction I went … “JUST PASSING BY”… to that coastal dealer’s shop who had bought the telescope. I fussed around his store, saw the telescope behind his desk waiting to be put out and carrying no price tag and …I fussed around the store some more. Then I said directly “How much is that telescope?”
He said “How about two twenty-five? I just bought it” and handed it to me. I opened it. It had a maker’s name above “LONDON 1802” engraved on the brass. I pretended to look it over and then said “OK I’ll buy it”. The dealer looked at me holding it. I turned slightly from him, held the telescope to my eye and said “PIRATES!”. Then I lowered the scope and smiled at the dealer. I figure he thought I was crazy. To this day every now and then I open the telescope, hold it to my eye and say “PIRATES!”. The telescope is displayed in plain sight. No one is ever going to buy it. It doesn’t actually work and… I paid way too much for it.