Thursday, April 4, 2013

Summer Place - Part Seven

Summer Place

Part Seven

            Before Mr. Simon ‘knew it’… he’d been ‘UP the stair’ and… back ‘DOWN the stair’ with this whiskeyed voyage including a STARE… at an old painting?  It; this painting, DID seem to be an OLD painting but… to Mr. Simon’s art eye… it did not seem to be a ‘good’ painting.  That is… it did not seem to Mr. Simon to be an old painting that… “my wife would like”.  That criteria of ‘good’ ‘painting’ WAS Mr. Simon’s ‘golden rule’ of, well… any and ALL ‘art’.  He …sort of… started a broken stammer either about or, at the least, TOWARD the ‘old painting’… hanging on a very seedy old wall above a … very seedy (?) old bed in a …seedy (?) old bedroom… somewhere “upstair” in this complex weave of an old house that “this woman who sells antiques lives in she’s very knowledgeable about local history you know”.  While about the effort to stammer, Mr. Simon’s gaze upon the old oil painting was diverted… thereby diverting his stammer… by my grandmother’s ‘neat & tidy neurotic action’ (?) of … picking up a neatly folded… very neat, tidy and CLEAN… woman’s sweater off the top of a …little chest of drawers …hidden against the wall behind the glare of light next to the bedroom widow… that she re-folded and… by bending over …WITH HER BUTT OFF TO THE SIDE so as to ‘show’ the WHOLE front of the little chest… and opening the third drawer down then putting the sweater into that open drawer and …slowly…softly… closing that drawer while saying nothing and then… standing up right.  Mr. Simon blinked twice while …not quite staring… at this little chest.

            My grandmother noted the… old fat trout… of Mr. Simon and his RISE out of the whiskeyed darkness in this …pastoral mountain stream POOL after…her CAST of the sweater-into-drawer that was intentionally a… DEEP, rich, poignant and womanly raptured GRACE upon this pool’s surface.  Mr. Simon had taken the bait.  My grandmother did NOT set the hook.  She let Mr. Simon swish his tail and:
            Back ‘down the stair’ with SHE ahead and HE behind so SHE had the whiskeyed glass in hand and was COMING BACK with its fresh ice cube JUST AS Mr. Simon had seated himself and gazed to that empty wet ringed spot.  Plop down went the glass, pop went the dirty bottle’s cork, DASH went a ‘whiskeyed’ and …slip… went my grandmother’s butt into the ‘her usual chair’ ‘across’ from ‘a customer’.  Mr. Simon sipped, looked about and… slowly set the freshened glass upon its old wet ring.
             “By the WAY I THANK YOU for VIEWING my OLD painting.” My grandmother began as her… first pull UPWARD on the bait-in-mouth line …that was ‘straight down’ into the pool’s darkness.
            Mr. Simon looked at her and focused.  He felt a TUG?  Not quite THAT but a touch awkward of a feeling to be back seated with nothing but a jumbled quandary as to WHAT …that (upstair) voyage was all about… ‘anyway’.  “Anyway” began to …let line play out:
            “THAT was Sophia’s CHEST OF DRAWERS, Mr. Simon.”
            “MY SWEATER CHEAT.  Was OWNED BY Sophia Kimball.  Captain Merritt Kimball’s wife; Sophia.  It was her chest.  Our first LADY of the VILLAGE.  Mr. Simon.”
            Now right here, to understand concisely, my grandmother is at a “I do as I say”.  That is a very simple sales procedure… that she taught me (to say it in the least).  The configuration obviously involves the local history and the “in the very subtle trademark traditions of this whole… Maine… romance” of that and their application to an, in fact, ‘good antique’; the chest of drawers.  That ‘this and these’ I have been reminding of …to the point of harping upon… for those parting for inspection the local and summer people ‘schooled me’ differentiations.  THIS and THESE should be an ‘obvious’ in play here.  It is the …application process… I wish to purvey as a ‘to understand concisely’ ‘I do and say’:
            My grandmother does the ‘fill in the blanks’ of the transaction.  Mr. Simon, the world class New York City stockbroker-deal maker-trade grabber ‘on the floor’ of THAT floor is ‘fine’.  Here found a little whiskeyed in an old Maine home of an old Maine woman with a “I think I saw” “a something?” “I think” ‘buying antiques’:  Well… he CAN use the help.  My grandmother’s working theory was to simply plow ahead on the pond surface and soon enough the old fat trout will be ‘netted’ (sold to).  She goes off namby-pamby filling in the blank spots well ahead of Mr. Simon’s chance to quandary and DOES KNOW THAT… after a tug or two… Mr. Simon (and a any customer et al) becomes receptively pleased and docile with this… progress.  We resume:
            “It WAS her chest AND I bought it from the BROTHERS.”
            “The Kimball brothers.  A little dull witted, Mr. Simon.  You KNOW what I mean.
            “Yes Mr. Simon. They would sell their MOTHER unless advised to NOT do so.
            “This is the Captain Kimball house?”
            “Yes Mr. Simon and SOPHIA’S ROOM was CLOSED UP.”
            “Closed up?”
            “When she FINALLY DIED.  It was CLOSED UP.”
            “Her room?”
            “Yes and my SWEATER CHEST was IN the ROOM.”
            “Closed up in the room?”
            “Yes but I BOUGHT IT.  I KNEW it was IN THERE.  Old Climber’s FATHER told me.  BOTH of them KNOW their antiques, Mr. Simon.  THE FATHER was fixing the CEILING.  He was WALL MAN, Mr. Simon:  PLASTER… if he WASN’T PLASTERED HIMSELF if you know what I mean, Mr. Simon.
            Mr. Simon, enraptured with the story’s start, nodded quickly so as to …keep the story flowing forth.
            “He TOLD ME about it IN THERE.  TRIED to BUY IT he claimed but I am SURE the brothers were never MOVED ALONG.  Climber always MENTIONS IT but he doesn’t KNOW that I’ve bought it.  NOW… don’t you go TELLING ON ME, Mr. Simon.
            “Telling on you? I would NEVER be TELLING on YOU… about that little chest?
            “IT IS LITTLE isn’t it a CHARM, Mr. Simon.”
            “Why yes it IS… just that; A CHARM.”
            “My I said to myself:  So perfect and SO CLEAN.  Just right for my SWEATERS, Mr. Simon”.
            “I SEE that is quite TRUE.”
            “Sophia.  She would DELIGHT to know that I HAVE FILLED IT SO.”
            “Sophia would?”
            “Yes Mr. Simon.  Sophia would WISH that chest to go to the FIRST LADY of the VILLAGE.
            “She would?”
            “It would have been BUILT right here in the village.  CAPTAIN MERRTT KIMBALL had it made for her after their WEDDING.  Locally made I am sure for I’ve HAD another one YEARS BACK but just as FINE; the GOOD lines and SMALL size.  VERY HARD TO FIND, Mr. Simon.  It IS… 1790’s I’m SURE.  HE was at SEA after THAT.  But at their start it was just the FIRST HOUSE.  Small Colonial CAPE.  YOU can still SEE IT in the old ELL.
            All Mr. Simon did, sitting forward in his chair, was just look expectantly at my grandmother.  She continued… at full throttle.
            “MY TROUBLE …that it took to GET AT IT in there.  Why.  I WAS YEARS at that bedroom.  Finally I turned the KEY to the door myself.
            “They let you into the room?”
            “They couldn’t STOP me, Mr. Simon.  Enough was enough so I really just BROKE that door down.  MONTHS it was.  No:  Years.”
            “And you say this was a Sophia’s chest?”
            “NOTHING but finery EVER comes from Sophia.  YOU can see it with your EYE Mr. Simon.  I SAW your EYE upon Sophia’s chest.  I’ve seen your eye at work before Mr. Simon.  You must know THAT.”
            “Well… I.’
            “YES.  And THAT is your GOOD TASTE, Mr. Simon.  Yes you are right SHE would LOVE the chest.  For her sweaters.  Well.  Actually.  I suppose she doesn’t WEAR many sweaters in the SUMMER.”
            “Oh she’s ALWAYS wearing sweaters.  In the Evening.  Always wears them.
            “Yes of COURSE, Mr. Simon; the EVENING!  Well I suppose it will STILL  BE to DEAR for you.  I had to pay so much, you know; to those BROTHERS.”
            “So much?”
            “I will for eight hundred dollars”.
            “You paid for the chest?”
            “No… to sell it to you, Mr. Simon.  That’s too dear isn’t it.”
            “Eight hundred dollars?  For the Captain Kimball chest?
            “Sophia Kimball’s chest.  The Captain Merritt Kimball house.  He …had it MADE here in the VILLAGE for HER.
            “And what kind of chest IS IT?”
            “Chippendale, Mr. Simon.”
            “Chippendale?  Mr. Chippendale?  He made it?”
            “No, Mr. Simon.  THE STYLE is Chippendale.”
            “Mr. Chippendale’s style”.
            “Well yes.  I suppose that will do, Mr. Simon”.
            “My wife will LOVE IT.
            “Oh she will INDEED, Mr. Simon.
            “Her BIRTHDAY is NEXT MONTH.
            “Oh a very nice GIFT INDEED, Mr. Simon.  But again Mr. Simon:  Be careful about mentioning it TOO much around”
            “Oh no never.  I’ll hide it right away in the barn.  She’ll never see it until her birthday.”
            “I can get my man Charles to move it for you.”
            “He must put it in the barn.  No one must see it.  Cover it up, tell him.”
            “I will Mr. Simon”
            Charles did bring the chest to the barn after… being sure that Mr. Simon would be there when he did.  Together they carried the little chest in behind a tier of hay and set it down against an interior wall on the first floor of the barn.  They put the old table cloth that Charles had used to cover the chest back over the chest.  Charles gave the table cloth to Mr. Simon.  Mr. Simon paid Charles “very well” for he help and the table cloth.  Charles was very pleased and even moved a few bales of hay around the chest to “hide it”  They looked over their work and left the barn together.  No one would see that chest back there hidden in the hay.  No one would see it… for fifty years.  (1962-2012).

1 comment:

  1. It’s the whiskey, yes the whiskey, whiskey brings it all together, all the parts, the time spent, coming together, thanks to the whiskey.