Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gardiner's Garden Basket - Part Four

Gardiner's Garden Basket

Part Four

            Leaving the tailgate of Fetchy’s truck we crossed the farm yard to a two story shed that was once a (horse and wagon) harness shop.  “Clomp, clomp, clomp” told me that Fetchy followed me up to ‘the shop’ and ... ‘clomp, clomp’... INTO the shop and... I went up the stairs to the second floor (at my very immediate right) WITHOUT clomping and... NOT hearing Fetchy clomping from behind so:
            “WHALE... just LOOK’EN.”
            “WHALE... eye’p... SUPPOSE.”
            I start to walk around the second floor of the shop ...that is filled with old (antique) baskets... and... the silence from below continues.

            “ALL OF THEM?”
            “EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY”.
            “GET UP HERE!”
            First I hear a sliding shuffle.  Then one clomp of Fetchy’s first boot step on the first stair step.  Then a PONDEROUSLY SLOW clomp, clomp, clomp of Fetchy ascending the stairs.  He whole steadily appears rising above floor level of the second floor stair portal... with this floor being a whole open space of old-old flooring... old-old rafters above... old windows covered with cloth and... old antique baskets ‘everywhere’.  At one third of him above the floor level...; at his armpits just above the floor level... he stops and puts his left arm out on the floor and... starts looking around and:
            “From YOU.”
            Pause and Fetchy’s face roams the second floor space in support of his eyes.
            “You don’t GET THOSE ...MUCH.

            “WHALE... HOW OLD IS THIS BUILDING?” Fetchy continues while his face supporting his eyes continues to ROAM (ROME?).
            “CIVIL WAR”.
            “WHALE... NICE AIN’T IT... UP HERE.”
            “WHALE...” he says starting to clomp up to the top of the stairs.  “EYE’P SUPPOSE.” he says standing fully erect at the stair top in his full ... MAINE JUNK MAN and TRASH PICKER ...over dressed for AUGUST... but could go deer hunting in November NOW... (including the ‘he’s wearing L. L. Bean boots!’)... regular and recently washed... so not too dirty... yet attire.  His form becomes ‘giant’ as he expands into the space; a lumbering standing bear sized man whom... in the farm yard appears ‘Maine normal” but the compressed space and subdued light of the old harness shop... turns him into an old work clothes wrapped Sasquatch to any eye.
            I look at him.  He’s looking at the baskets.  I continue to snap up selected ‘garden baskets’ off the piles of old baskets and set those out in a rectangular cluster near a window.  At the same time I form a line to one side of big-to-small baskets in front of a second window.  Fetchy ever more intently watches.  I quickly finish the assemblage.
            “WEREN’T THIS HERE WHERE THE (harness) SHOP WAS UP HERE?” Fetchy says.
            “Yeah.  Downstairs was farm.”
            “SEE THAT ROAD from UP HERE”.
            “ANYONE COME.”

            “We try to put ‘em all up here when we find them.”
            “Enough now.  GOOD ONES.  WHALE... SEEN THAT ONE AT JIMMY’S?”
            “No,  That one come out ‘Wicked’ Ames’ corn shed”
            “That ROUND shed?”
            “YOU GOT IN THERE.”
            “You WEASELED?”
            “I TRIED HIM.  Wouldn’t let me IN.  WHALE I say.”
            “I dropped a twenty.” (drop money on the ground to let ‘em see it – then pick it up.)
            “You dropped?  He took that?  YOU lucky WEASEL!”
            “Figured I should TRY it”.
            “It worked.  THIS ONE HERE’S was MARY ANNE’S” I say pointing to one basket in the assembled rectangle.  Fetchy looks toward my gesture.

            “You can REMEMBER that?”
            “COURSE.  I remember ALL that stuff.  Who wants to FORGET?”
            “WHALE... you DO FORGET.”
            “Not me on these; these garden baskets.  Every one’s always been a little special.”
            “I won’t know that one’s Mary Anne’s even though I SAW IT everyday there RIGHT.”
            “Yeah but you didn’t BUY IT.  That’s why; I FIND ‘em and buy ‘em.  I don’t forget ‘cause I’m always LOOKING to FIND ONE.”
            “WHALE you didn’t BUY THAT ONE.”
            “NO!  You know:  Mrs. Taylor PITCHED IT.  Reggie (another local trash hauler) fetched it.  I bought it off of HIM.”
            “WEASELED off of HIM.”
            “I bought the whole PILE.  HE’D weaseled that PILE for himself.
            “WHO WEASELED WHO?  Whale...  Just look’en HERE I SEE MR. WEASEL HIMSELF!” observed Fetchy surveying the whole old space full of ... old New England and Maine farm baskets.
            “Ain’t any old farm basket in an old Maine farm that’s safe from me.”
            “Put the weasel in the farm house I say. Why you LINING those up?”
            “Only the one in the middle’s a GARDEN basket.” I say adding a seventh very small basket to one end of the line.”
            “WHALE... what are THOSE?” Fetchy says pointing to the larger baskets at one end of the line.
            “TOO BIG”.
            “So those?” he continues pointing to the other end.
            “Berry baskets; real small.  Find WAY more of those.  I find... sometimes... FIVE or SIX in a place.  Berry picking you know; ‘UP the MOUNTAIN’.  EVERYONE has a BASKET.  A garden basket:  There usually JUST ONE.  See the size.”

            “WHALE... I like them BERRY baskets TOO.
            “Oh yeah me too.  But.  They’re just not as SPECIAL.  The way they (the garden baskets) were USED.  Everyday.  IN the garden.  All those years.  Generations.  JUST Mary Anne’s was probably used in Mrs. Taylor old house from when it was built (1870’s)”.  Then SHE (Mary Anne) moved it.  Then Mrs. Taylor pitched it.  She don’t have a garden anymore.”
            “WHALE... barely EVER had one.  Mrs. Taylor always been trying to LEAVE TOWN since she was a little girl; ‘FIND somewhere’ she call it.
            “She’s always been trying to find the whole universe.”
            “You KEEP Gardiner’s (garden basket) up in here?”
            “Yep.  Bring it back up.  Use another one.  Maybe use MARY ANNE’S for while huh?’
            Fetchy looks up at me.  He’d been surveying all the garden baskets while standing before Mary Anne’s.  Then he looks out over the floor filled with all the other baskets.  Then he looks back down at the rectangle of garden baskets.  Then he looks back up at me and says “WHALE... It seems to ME... that you can find the whole UNIVERSE in JUST ONE of these nice old GARDEN BASKETS.

The End


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