Friday, January 25, 2013

The Oldest Thing in The Oldest House

“The Oldest Thing in the Oldest House?”

            “That I found?  That I THINK is the oldest thing?  Well…:
            “IT’S NOT GONNA BE WHAT you’d THINK BE the OLDEST.  I bet.  May not even be a THE THING either.  And THAT by MY FEEL.  I don’t THINK much anymore doing this (being an antiques & estate picker).  Used to THINK all the time.  NOW I just FEEL.
            “And NOT that I’d turn and ask YOU.  Yep...; I know THAT answer.  Over my shoulder with my flashlight pointed FORWARD I’d still be able to see that BLANK LOOK from YOU back there in the dark.  Wouldn’t even be able to trust you to get what I found OUT the CELLAR DOOR without breaking it.  Nope.  Would have to just let it SIT THERE until you’d CLEARED THE AREA and then I’d fetch it.  That’s WHY I work ALONE doing this; no clutter-bug infatuate breathing on my NECK.  Down there on that island I put ‘em ALL up in the barn.  They LIKE that crud.  Its ANN-TIQUES to them SCIENTISTS of that SUBJECT.  They don’t FEEL.  And they DO tell me what they THINK.
            “So they don’t THINK I’ve figured THAT out and sulky THINK that I am taking that attic chamber ALL for myself.  WHICH I DID.  I’m not gonna to through all this and let them amateur magicians into the BIG show.  Till I’m done.  Then they can look around.  Supervised of course.  The big magic show is over.  Not that they’d know THAT.  Just want to SEE and then TELL ME.  But THAT ain’t even the point.
            SEE:  That CHAMBER:  Its been GONE THROUGH.  Over the years,  Ain’t anyone sure of themselves enough to NOT GO to the ATTIC FIRST so I can be pretty sure that HERE every twenty years since TIME BEGAN for that chamber a SOMEBODY has gone up there and put in, took out, gone through or just plain MESSED WITH IT up there.  EVEN those HEDGE FUNDERS did a WENT THROUGH IT, you know; to SATISFY themselves.  I know that from the way that fellah STARED at my check.  They’d DECIDED before I got there… that it was all junk UP THERE.  Figured they must have taken something but I DON’T THINK THEY DID.  Actually.  Not new enough.  NOT CLEAN ENOUGH.  For that NEW HOUSE.  Those kind of people FEEL BETTER when they START FROM SCRATCH.  NEW.
            “Anyway:  You ask so I’ll tell you the truth fair and square.  It weren’t the chamber for me.  Oh that was GOOD but been through.  YOU WANT early; oldest, you gotta get to where THAT hasn’t happened.  And there’s NOT A LOT of SPACES that haven’t had someone THINK they’ve BEEN THROUGH it.  So I LOOK HARD.  And feel.  And I already knew ANYWAY.  JUST FEEL IT.  And that’s that CELLAR.
            “Just a damn HOLE they dug TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO.  Dug a HOLE on that ISLAND.  Think of that:  Digging that and standing down in the bottom of THAT HOLE way out there on that ISLAND in the middle of NO WHERE.  THEN they make that chimney up one side of that hole.  THEN they build a house around all of it.  THEN they put that miserable step stairs DOWN INTO that hole and spend two hundred years going up and down that stairs like that cellar’s a walk-in refrigerator WHICH IT IS.  Always COOL.  COLD in winter but never HOT in summer.  Best thing they had and they knew it.  Except for that CHIMNEY of course.
            So what ever went DOWN there had to COME BACK UP.  Which it did most of the time over the hundreds of years.  ‘Cept that of course no one is staying on TOP of that; what goes down and what comes back UP.  SEE I know THAT.  That’s because I’VE been bringing DOWN and taking UP all my life in my OWN cellar.  Take the onions down.  Bring the onion back up.  Bring the basket back up when its empty.  OR DON’T.  There; right there, is it.  Gotta BRING it BACK UP.  For two hundred years.  Didn’t ALWAYS happen.  I know that.  I got stuff down in MY OWN that I PUT THERE over a QUARTER CENTURY ago.  Still right there.  Sits down there.  For years.  For TWO HUNDRED YEARS.  I know that.
            None of the rest of ‘em do; too stupid.  Because they THINK.  I could FEEL IT.  Just like mine.  ‘Cept that MINE is about 1752 I figure.  This one WAS OLD.  1732.  THEY SAY.  I bet you someone was there before that chimney.  I bet that there was a house right there.  And they dug that hole too.  Or started the hole anyway.  OLD.  People don’t realize how OLD people REALLY were along the coast here.  REALLY OLD.  That house may have been the THIRD house there.  Log cabin.  Or two.  Burned.  Indian burned.  No one writing ANYTHING DOWN.  Couldn’t.  Couldn’t even READ.  THOSE were the FIRST PEOPLE down there.  And not a trace.  Except that HOLE.  I could FEEL IT.  On that Island.  They were there EARLY.  Fishermen.  Better life THERE than where ever they CAME FROM.  Went out fishing and never went back.  THAT was the FIRST house.  After that there was ALWAYS someone there.  Except for the INDIANS BURNING.  But by that ‘THEY SAY’ (1732) it was SAFE from then on.  So they built THAT house, with the chimney… over THAT HOLE.  There could be one hundred years of BEFORE for that hole.  THAT’S probably the OLD THING in THE OLDEST HOUSE.  That hole.

1 comment:

  1. “That hole.” WOW! I missed it completely. And I was already feeling bad because I know that I certainly would have missed the “Boston area tea table”. Yes, I would have been one of the “team” members in the barn. I imagine that I would have DISCOVERED something like a three tined wood hay fork, with two broken tines and a split handle being held together with modern black plastic electrical tape. I picture holding it up to show as a FIND, and after being acknowledged, being told “OK…you can have that”.
    Don’t get me wrong, I would enjoy being on the team, and never try to become more than that. I don’t lack ambition. I just know where I fit. I KNOW WHAT I DON’T KNOW. Yet, to me, when the process is revealed….the “FEEL IT”…the “THING”…the “not a THING”…I know something new, something that I didn’t know, and that’s my REAL FIND.