"The Dark, Cold, Spot Within"
If I’m in an old, 1830’s Maine barn in February, after a snow storm, with the temperature at six degrees, the barn dark and the barn creaking from the wind gusts slamming against it... I am a very long ways from the formulas of antiquarian titillation. I do not need to have a visitor; a guest, in that barn ...who is a rampant enthusiast (‘he cares’) of these ...formulas of antiquarian titillation... to be well, well beyond a ...resurrection... to a working-with-willingly status with those warm, soft, fuzzy glowing embers (the formulas of ...antiquarian titillation).
Right after World War II, a child’s ‘board game’ was... invented. It is called Candy Land (Candyland). It is a simple ...and intellectually simplistic... game of picking up a card and, as a game player, doing what that card says to do on a wandering board game path. No decisions. No miss direction. The game is still very available today in very updated formulas. For my usage here, I am using a ...1960’s ‘classic retro’ iconic ... in the mind... image... without a need to know the details of play, the updated modern ‘improvements’ NOR have a bedrock foundation of the ‘first version’ (1949) board game collector hubbub. The Candyland game I use is an image that includes children at the center of the room on the floor before a... black and white television offering six channels. The game is played by these children unconsciously, passively. It entertains for a while and then is ... put away.
That; a Candyland game... is a formula of antiquarian titillation that I... relentlessly engage for myself in settings such as the old Maine barn I am ‘in’. I, with varying degrees of clarity and detail, often pass my game-card-picked-up action(s) along to the reader. For example... and with Crap Pile’s helpful interest... the antiquarian Candyland game card of ‘old Coke machine’ and been picked up and ‘played’. From my antiquarian dealerly vantage... this Candyland game card pick up... is an endless procedure done over and over and over and OVER forever every day everywhere forever OVER AND OVER. Thrills are gone and pat standards of antiquarian titillation(s) are turned on and off like ...water faucets. Having Crap Pile ‘about’ simply adds another participant picking up Candyland cards. Too. “OLD PHOTOGRAHS? GOT ‘EM. TOP OF STAIRS RIGHT. Then right again. Back. THERE! SEE? A whole STACK Of ‘em.”
A second ...and equal... formula of antiquarian titillation is... a... sort of... Hansel and Gretel fairy tale crumb trail... that comes with each... Candyland game card antique-of-that-moment. BEYOND the object is a ...crumb trail... OF that object. It is a mixture of the object’s heritage, history, antique-ness and art qualities... (Coy-Part Twelve) in a ‘sort-of-loose-ness’: Hansel and Gretel are children in a fairy tale leaving a crumb trail. The orange cones of factual organization and presentation of this second formula LOOK LIKE they were... set up by children in a fairy tale. Some would call it... ‘charm’? A quick and curt specimen of this formula is my conjectural written out shotgun blast style relation of the ‘Coke machine’ getting from the local country store to the inside of the barn door (Coy – Part Eighteen – [B]). I put out a little crumb trail for the ‘Coke machine’. I put out crumb trails for myself ...to follow, I LOOK for crumb trails for myself ...to follow. I... am, as an antiquarian... Hansel and Gretel? Or am I the Grimm Brothers?
The Grimm brothers are the original compilers of the ...whispered heritage of German fairy tales. In the first decades of the 19th century they... ‘did that’: Collect, write down and publish (print in book form for the first time) ‘these’ ‘fairy tales’ (like Cinderella). I... like Rapunzel... am letting down my hair ...so that one may climb that hair of... just what am I saying here? Or is it what am I ABOUT to say here? It is obvious when one reviews the history-of-the-history of the Grimm brothers and their publication... that HISTORICALLY the suggestion is that there is a lot more going on ‘here’ than collecting and publishing ‘fairy tales’. That; the Grimm brothers and their fairy tales are another matter BUT THE intellectual pivot of ‘the suggestion’... of a ‘lot more going on’... IS... a... very... large... WHAT... in the ‘all of this’ of... formulas of antiquarian... THROW OUT THE WORD titillation and put in the word SUBSTANCE. And the word humanity. Then add the word humility... for that word is what comes from the first two words if one is ...really... an ‘antiquarian’. This ‘WHAT’ is, delightfully, a ‘dark, cold, spot within’. Most... ‘interested in antiques’ do not get there. Go there... or... even ‘know of it’. For some... ‘forgetting’ (Coy Part Six [A]) is actually a TRY and forget about... that fails. After a while (of endeavoring to actively participate in... dark, cold old Maine barns... in February) they ‘go away’ and ‘are not around’. Should this ‘they’ see me ‘again’ they often ask ‘if (I) still do that’ and then faintly nod their head... not knowingly... but as disbelief. “Sorry to threaten you”.
In my ‘I wrote it’ “John Henry’ – Part Three I ‘work with’ (Candyland cards and crumb trails) old oriental rugs in old WASP estates. It is bouncy pleased-me of a write and successfully entertains I, the author. Let us go deeper.
ONE DAY I was ‘sent’ by arranged appointment to a home by a ‘her lawyer’ “TO SEE”... my usual mission statement... ‘just what the Hell is going on in there’ relative to ‘the stuff’ in ‘the home’. I went there. I was received by the age-mid-eighties woman who knew I was coming, was a little nervous, was put at ease with my ‘old Maine’ banter and pretty much ‘opened up’ ...every cupboard door, et al, including bed linen and underwear... OK. Got it. Routine. NO PROBLEM. CAN REPORT. But. Ah... two things. One: There is a smaller dog. It does not stop barking at all ever and it tries to bite you on the ass if you turn from it so keep you ass flush to the room wall so it can’t get you. Two: This dog has shit all over the house. NOT poop. Shit. For years. AND YEARS. I reported. I knew the Lawyer didn’t listen to the two points.
A year later I was called by the lawyer to go to the house WITH HIM to ...it was never clear WHAT I was actually suppose to do but I WAS told over and over that... the old woman ‘wants to see you again’. I told the lawyer about the dog and the dog shit again (“Don’t wear your best suit it’s gonna try to bite your ass as soon as we go inside”). It did... bite his ass... good ...right away. He give me this look. That look conveyed ALL of humanity to me. HE hadn’t gotten to humility yet. That day. We ‘did that’; whatever it was AND did too ‘look’ at ‘ALL’ of the ‘oriental rugs’ ‘in the home’ that... the dog had shit and pissed on. There is NOT a middle ground description of this state-of-rugs.
“WE” left. I had my own truck. The lawyer... had a jeep.
ANOTHER YEAR later I am called back to ‘assist’ in an ‘inventory’ of ‘the estate’. Facts coming my way were skimpy. I was to show up and ‘help’. “WHO? The lawyer?” “What do I know.” and I arrived on time. THEY... were a little late. WE all went inside. WE included two... middle age veteran paralegal women ‘in shoes’ (in inappropriate foot gear). On my feet were... Bean Boots. Inside... there was NO CHANGE except that the woman... was ‘dead’. “NO PROBLEM ...just tell me what to do.”. I didn’t have to do anything. The paralegals did everything. It didn’t take long. They did a ‘walk through FREAK OUT’. I... ME... with my Candyland cards and crumb trails... watched these two women reinvent the UNIVERSE of humanity-turned-inward-to-humility... in about fifteen minutes ‘with shoes’. The lawyer... said to them... and said ONLY this... in my presents... to them; he said nothing else...: “I’ve seen worse”.
I left. They left. Another year passes. I get a ...referral telephone call from the heirs of the estate; referred to I by the lawyer. Their ‘concern’ was that the ‘oriental rugs’ in the house had “BEEN APPRAISED VERY HIGH” and that they found these rugs to be worse than worse than worse AND “covered with dog poop they’re STUCK TO THE FLOORS”... and were going to “THROW THEM OUT” but ‘needed’ me to verify that I had seen these rugs and that they were as covered with “dog poop”. That is, be a witness to this ... “they’re disgusting”. “We’re going to throw them out RIGHT NOW”. End of telephone calls. At 10:30 AM.
At 2:30 PM I drove in my truck to the estate and arrived there a few minutes before four. No one was at the house. There was a large pile of trash at the head of the driveway. Many ‘old oriental rugs’ were ...there. I quickly... put gloves on and load all of the old oriental rugs covered with dog ‘poop’ into the back of the truck and... drive away. At home I ...drag (‘its just old dog poop’)... all the old rugs into the Maine forest (NOT yard, lawn, etc.: MAINE FOREST) and, turning each upside down... left them spread out on the forest floor until... ‘after frost’ ‘in the fall’. Then I rolled them up ‘pretty much dry’ one day and... the next day... sold them ‘first thing’ (before 7 AM) at the flea market. I never personally gave them ‘the sniff test’... but... they were a lot ‘cleaner’ than they’d ‘been in a while’. And had pine needles on them. J
So here... of THIS little tale... I have the Candyland cards of oriental rugs. I have the trail of crumbs of the hither/thither of the estate. And... I have ...the delightful... did a ‘walk through FREAK OUT’. I... watched these two women reinvent the UNIVERSE of humanity-turned-inward-to-humility... in about fifteen minutes ‘with shoes’. It is a dark, cold spot within... but I got it and it ‘speaks volumes’ about what I do THAT MEANS SOMETHING to ME.
OK: The same thing happens with ‘the Coke machine’. It has already been written down in tale and ...this tale too. THIS tale has the Candyland card of the ‘machine’ and the crumb trail of it traveling to the barn. THEN I have the audacity to pontificate that ‘the Coke machine’ IS properly displayed as an old New England antique ONLY when it is buried in the old New England barn and... AND that all other display “is fake” (Part Eighteen [B})... ‘because I say so... in so many words... based on MY repetitive encounters with ‘old Coke machines’ ‘in old New England barns’ AND.
“So I’d sit on the slope porch of the store and wait with my “pop” and I admit that I really didn’t mind the old farts because they actually killed off the time pretty much with their stories about like how they put a car up on the roof of the hardware store with my uncle and no one in town could figure out how that happened or about when my uncle got married was because they were gonna “expel him” from Bowdoin College but he “found out” if he got married he’d be expelled for “just that” “she was a Catholic girl you know”. Well, he DID get married and DID get expelled and DID have a son that no one ever mentioned and I have STILL never ever seen but also Bowdoin DID put his name on war monument in the middle of the campus of him “died in the service of” as well as having been “there” (attended Bowdoin) under the World War II column. HE SHOWED THEM, HUH! NO wonder he wouldn’t bail out: What for? To end up sit’en out there drink’en ah “pop” with me at Maggie’s store?
This is from my “Maggie’s Store” (eight parts, this above is from part seven).
“Does that mean I was growing up on the porch of Maggie’s Store? Seems to me quite a bit came my way there... that didn’t seem to... come any other way... so... why don’t we ALL have a “pop” on THAT!” (Maggie’s Store Part Four).
Right there in that tale; “Maggie’s Store” I lay out very clearly why I can expostulate about ‘old Coke machines’. I was there WITH the humanity AND the humility that IS the old New England Coke machine ‘buried in the barn’. I have lived and written that living down; the dark, cold, spot within. I know that... without... that understanding; what I call the being there-there...:
“Are we... standing frozen in February in THIS old Maine barn looking at an old Coke machine by flashlight that is ‘buried’ ‘in there’... are we... ACTUALLY really, really, really “THERE”. And either know that... or do not. That is... the “THERE”(old New England barn Coke machine saga) is true AND right THERE but the disparity is... the knowing and... or... NOT KNOWING.”
“I know.”(Part Eighteen [B])
....The old New England Coke machine... in the old New England barn... is nothing at all but a vanity; an ornament, by itself. Found mired in old New England humanity... with humility... inside an old New England barn door... it is a precious blossom of classic (and rare survival) New England; a pure strain ‘unspoken’. It is ‘a desperate need’ to ‘notice this’.
Right here... and I do have to return to Crap Pile’s peeking in the barn... unpleasantly I do say this is so... but RIGHT HERE I do also say that this tale ‘reaches bottom’; I AM at the dark, cold spot within I NEED TO BE AT. ALL of this tangent; from when I ‘last was’ at the Savage estate... and suddenly turned up ...evidently TURNED OUT of the Savage estate AND finding myself in this old barn ‘clean out’ AND “touch my lips’ at Janet’s fooling with her sterling fork AND meet and greeting the ‘historical archives’ consortium .... ALL are the key links to the rest of this tale as I am turned back into the Savage estate... WITH NEW UNDERSTANDING that what was formerly ‘pitched’ and turned up side down New England has been PROVEN to be ... in fact... New England right side up (Part Six [A]). This, too, means I am not done with congested New England and their white SUV’s (Part Six [D]) or Helen’s BLUNT verbiage of “THEY SENT ELIEEN FISHER UP HERE TO APPRAISE ME!”. I have the tools at hand to save the Savage estate?