Fox Gets Goose
Cadence Snow… whose greater greats grandfather was Captain Snow, the old coastal trading merchant who built the family’s Federal homestead “Defiance” in 1808… I spied coming down the isle of coastal Maine antiques show this past weekend. I, and the antiquarian ware I was vending from my table top stall, were two-thirds the way down that isle. I saw her when she was one-half the way down. She had already spied me.
Her sister, estranged as family by Cadence decades ago, has appeared in three earlier posts when she “started to sell”. These posts may be reviewed under the labels “Cadence” or “Cransmore”. Cadence, whom I have had passing antiquarian and coastal Maine history chit-chat with for decades… doesn’t sell… anything ever… especially “family heirlooms”.
The financial rope tightening on the hanging neck of “old family’s”; especially old sea captain families and THEIR “old sea captain stuff”… in their old family homesteads… so placid and pretty when viewed on “upper main street” when “the new Maine” drives by …without actually looking “at that” …“is a problem”. This last quote is from a different …but equal to… spinster heir of an … equal to… coastal Maine sea captain legacy estate… with contents. Equal to Cadence.
She arrived at my stall. She poked my ware while fidgeting a “waiting”… “to speak to you”. This message I understood easily. Shoofly away did I to a minor dollars sale garnered an “I KNEW you’d BE HERE today” from Cadence who cut to business right onward with “I HAVE brought something I NEED YOU to LOOK AT when you have a chance”. Looking at her empty hands, pocket book and tote bag empty arms AND understanding the concealed command of “NOW” instead of the “when you”… I said “Here?”.
“In my car.”
“Let’s go see.”
This last WAS faster than Cadence expected so SHE rolled back a little and said “Are you SURE it’s OK”.
“Of course. It’s fine”.
We left the show floor together, broke free of the floor crowd in the lobby, broke free of that stale space into fresh fall air at the doorway and …a little slower than I usually pace… traveled rather far up through the parking lot to Cadence’s Subaru that she’d …parked on the grass “illegally” (her words).
“No I don’t think they care today.” I said when she expressed her concern. “Especially for the next few hours” I added. She was getting her hatchback key out of her …L. L. Bean light weight “raspberry” colored fleece jacket… pocket.
Unlocking and lifting open the hatch she said “I have THIS for you” as the popped hatch showed a banana box bottom with an old …but fluffy and clean… good quality… beach towel… packed into it. This towel she carefully lifted revealing …a piece of antique china.
Considering that since 5:00 AM that morning I had been looking at “antique china” to buy and sell on my own hook…but with a dose of “pick your brain” and “appraise” thrown in too… I understood well the difference of my …looking down upon micro second glance INTO the banana box bottom and …all of the rest of the “old china" of this day up to this open hatchback “now”.
I saw a …medium deep color… “dark blue”… soft paste “Staffordshire” earthenware “covered vegetable dish” sitting in the box bottom… with its lid on… after traveling to the parked position with …just the “a towel covering it”.
“I know that Peggy bought the charger from Helen and sold it to you.” she said. I knew what she was talking about; the Boston Statehouse round charger or platter. “I’m bringing YOU this first so tell me what you’ll pay me for it”.
Now I was rolled back: An item… an apparently GOOD item… for sale… after decades of “never sell anything”. And, of course, Cadence did not just BUY this at a yard sale and bring it to me to “off load for a quick profit”. Hardly. I knew better. I knew well. I KNOW still and KNEW right then that THIS: Was very carefully selected from within the old family homestead by Cadence… after probably WEEKS of inner turmoil and deliberation… from its reclusive corner cupboard bottom dining room hiding spot (?)… where it had been for two centuries… as “Ok to sell THAT” “with trepidation”.
I knew this all from … past work experience: In old Maine sea captain’s homesteads… the sky is falling.
I knew too… “do this fast”. This is NOT an easy moment for those such as Cadence. It is a dirty moment. A tragic moment. A pack with me as Devil.
“May I?” I said gesturing into the box my request to inspect the …covered vegetable dish. My inner voice was correctly announcing “WHAT’S TO INSPECT IDIOT”. My theatre self held steady; “she expects that”. I lifted the whole, lid on as presented, with two hands to above my eye level so I saw the Enoch Wood & Sons mark on the bottom while… sensing… (only)… “no damage”. And set it back down. And:
LIFTED THE LID off. My breath… is taken away for in the rich blue my eyes behold a fox running of with a goose… “perfect”. I put the lid right back on. And said “three hundred fifty; three hundred and fifty dollars”.
After a breath of pause Cadence said “That’s a little more than I expected”.
“Of course.” I said. “It’s quite nice isn’t.”
“Yes it is.” She said, breathed a pause again and said “Very well. It’s yours”.
I took out my checkbook and wrote my first check ever to “Cadence Snow”. Handing it to her I then lifted the covered vegetable dish out of the box. I held it in both hands.
“Don’t you want the box?” ask Cadence.
“No. I’m fine.” I said. “I’ll go put it in the truck. I did that. The truck was parked over past where Cadence was. She closed up the hatchback while I … put the dish on the passenger’s seat and threw a light jacket over it. I walked back to Cadence.
She said “Thank you ever so much.” and opened her driver’s door. She was leaving.
I said “Thank YOU.” And went back inside to the show.