Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gardiner's Garden Basket - Part One

Gardiner's Garden Basket

Part One

            “WHALE... eye’p... SUPPOSE.”
            “You suppose WHAT?”
            “WHALE...  eye’p.”
            “WHALE...” Old Fetch (“Fetchy” or “Old Fetchy”) said with a furtive glance at my face followed by a quick return of his eyes to contemplating the folded down tailgate of his pickup truck. “EYE’p SUPPOSE... you... don’t happen to have...” he says as his head and face lift back up from the tailgate gaze and peer into my face “.... .... a FAIR price... on the BASKET”.
            “I’m using the damn basket.”
            “Your using GARDINER’S basket”.
            “IT’S MINE.”
            “WHALE... eye’p... SUPPOSE”
            “You don’t want that basket.”
            “WHALE... I’ve always LIKED IT”.
            “Yeah but that was AFTER I got it.”
            “WHALE... I was THERE TOO.”
            “YOU COME BY... on weasel just like you always do”.
            “Weasel and you know it”.
            “I ALREADY had it IN the truck.  You seen it IN THERE.  THEN you’s STARTED.”
            “I already OWNED IT fair and square:  I already RESCUED IT.  It’s MINE.  I’m USING IT.”
            “Camp SEE that would MAKE the difference.”
            “CAN’T SEE that its over there FULL OF TOMATOES?”
            “Them summer gold is GOOD ain’t THEY”.
            “You want to buy it FULL don’t YOU.”

            “WHALE... could be full... eye’p... SUPPOSE”.
            “JESUS is YOU’S the WEASEL”.
            “WELL...” I mimicked.
            “Whale... MAYBE TODAY.
            “I ain’t gonna sell it to you
            “OK:  TWO TWENTY-FIVE.”
            “WHALE NOT THAT!”
            “Take it or... LEAVE IT.”
            “You just come by THINK’EN.”
            “WHALE:  SUMMER NOW... sees... WHALE...
            “Tomato season.”
            “Garden season.”
            “WHALE... BASKET season I SAY this morning.”
            “Yeah but that’s pretty special.  We’ve talked about THAT.
            “WHALE... that you don’t just SELL a BASKET like THAT”.
            “They buy ‘em... once they find out.
            “Find out?”
            “YOU had to FIND OUT”.
            “YOU DID and I remember it.”
            “YOU was GO’EN to her (talking a sales pitch) and that woman just TURNED and said I’LL BUY IT”.
            “Yes.  And you ain’t been the same since.  Good one too; early.  That old wire repair along the bottom.  Wire on the handle too.  Higgins’s farm... shed; found that one.”
            “WELL I HAD to take you DOWN TO THE RIVER and BAPTIZE YOU RIGHT THEN.”
            “WHALE... you did TEACH me.”
            “Some TEACH.”
            “You STILL ain’t got one YET.”
            “STILL STUCK on the one’s I GET.”
            “WHALE... I LOOK NOW.”
            “And come out with?”
            “And GET IN WITH.”
            “I AIN’T GONNA BEAT YOU.”
            “But you’ll WEASEL”.
            “WEASEL:  You’re the WEASEL.”
            “Just doing my job.”
            “Didn’t say a word either.”
            “Course you wouldn’t.
            “NOT ME:  THEM.  They wouldn’t KNOW a garden basket if it FARTED AT ‘EM.”
            “WHALE... they’d know SOME; that... WHALE... that HE USED IT:  Could know THAT.”
            “Maybe... maybe not.”
            “But you always know’d that basket I know.”
            “Not just THAT basket.  The whole GARDEN BASKET; all of ‘em.  I LOOK for those.  YOU know THAT.  Now YOU look for ‘em.  Because of ME you do.”
            “WHALE... THEY ARE SPECIAL.  Once you know.  I mean... WHALE... YOU KNOW your RIGHT.”
            “HIS (Gardiner’s garden basket) BE... Oh Jesus... Well... HIS wife’s MOTHER’S.  Then probably HER MOTHER’S.  That’s Wilton (Maine) way.  SO... THAT’S an early one.  SO HER MOTHER’S.  That FARM.  Let’s see:  THAT’S got to be twenty-five years ago NOW.  So... nothing in there.  So it got all the way over here.  He always said it was her MOTHER’S”.
            “BACK THERE; the FARM.  Don’t remember YOU IN THERE.”
            “Well... the basket’s eighteen fifties; Civil War.  So... probably... FIVE generations at least.
            “THEN GARDINER.”
            “No... him too.  His wife used it.  Probably they brought it over.  When the mother died.  That’s the usual way.  One uses it... dies... next one picks it up.”
            “Jesus how you know that... “
            “Well LOOK AT the DAMN basket.  It don’t GET like that from being USED BY YOU.  Got to be GENERATIONS.  And.  Of course... IT’S OLD; an OLD BASKET.  IT’S MADE right; OLD right.  ON the FARM most of ‘em.”
            “THAT ONE... Gardiner USED THAT ONE”.
            “Well I knew that when I went IN THERE.  I knew it was in there.  I took it right out.  Then you seen it.  In the truck.  I rescued it.
            “WHALE... I ain’t gonna PAY YOU.  But... I LIKE THAT ONE”.
            “I’ve found better than THAT.”
            “Some you have:  I seen.  But:”
            “I took it right out.  On the porch.  Right there.  Always right there in the summer.  Fall too.  They took it in after that; for the winter.
            “WHALE... now... eye’p suppose you SEEN that PHOTOGRAPH that the HISTORICAL SOCIETY has out.
            “OH you weasel; you JUST SEEN THAT?”
            “SEEN IT.  WITH THE BASKET”
            “Just the TOP”.
            “Yeah but... It’s THE BASKET.”
            “They’re sitting there just like always”.
            “WHALE... they was NINETY-FOUR”.
            “TWO:  Ninety-two”.
            “DIED TOGETHER.”
            “Four days”.
            “SHE DIED.”
            “Then Gardiner.  He said to me once that it was OVER when she dies.  He said that.
            “WHALE ...that was their WHOLE LIFE.
            “They first KISSED when they were FOURTEEN.”
            “WHALE THAT TOO”.
            “He used the basket when I’d visit him.  They should of got a picture of THAT.  Him in the garden.  She wouldn’t come out anymore.  He’d go out with the basket.  That’s where I first SEEN the basket.  Actually TRIED to buy it THEN.
            “SPECIAL I’d say”.
            “The basket”.
            “WHALE... that TOO.  But them two.  DEAD NOW.”
            “You figure that’s got to be a rare photograph for the baskets; the actual USERS pictured WITH their basket”.
            “It IS the basket.  I think about it; that basket.  Come over to SEE it.  Didn’t figure you’d be USING it.”
            “I do.  Not always.  I got quite a few I’ve taken out.  RESCUED  she (my wife) says.  I rotate ‘em.  Each one I know it.  You know; where I got it.  How I got it.
            “YOU SAY you just can’t BUY THEM.  Your right about that.  I DON’T EVER SEE one.  Now; I look TOO.”
            “Got to be found in the houses.  Rescued.  Too old and BEAT UP for the dealers.  THEY Don’t KNOW.   GARDEN BASKET; WHAT’S THAT.”
            “Well now I SEEN YOU sell ONE.”
            “Yeah but that’s AFTER they FIND OUT.”
            “Whale... Gardiner ‘ould SIT THERE WITH his basket.  Remember THAT?  It ‘ould be full too.”

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