Thursday, February 27, 2014

Coy - Part Thirty - "Isn't That Pretty" - (C-1) - "Dirty Dishes"


Part Thirty

"Isn't That Pretty"


"Dirty Dishes"

            I buy the dirty dishes...
At the Holiday Fair...
For a dollar or two...
            Here and there.
            They are wrapped, sort of, in previously-used-several-times-already... including cookie crumbs and festive holiday chromatics... “tissue paper”.  She called it.  I took the banana box to a warehouse (old Maine barn), put the box ‘in’ ‘that’... and forgot about it... all winter.
            In May... “that historical society over there” “is having a spring (Mayday) fair”.  I hear.  I went to that.  I went to the bric-brac table directly.  There were no antiques of any sort for sale on the bric-brac table or anywhere else at the fair.  That was because Helen had not ‘come back’ “FROM FLORIDA” “yet” I was told... by a woman who would know these things.

            IN JUNE... “that historical society over there” was preparing for their JULY “Strawberry Festival”.  That comes after... due to the previously explained ...statues... of WASP etiquette (Part Twenty-Nine [A])... the Fourth of July and the local community’s celebrations ‘of that’.  Red, white and blue “bunting” is “up all month” “in the village”.  “THAT” (the bunting) “GOES” in August.  THAT is a WASP statue ...too-too.  Like a Christmas wreath hanging on a front door in February, “NOT” ‘goes’... “is tacky”.  THAT (‘is tacky’) is a WASP statue TOO-too-too (“They don’t KNOW any better”).
It is always a close call on the strawberries (freshness) and... the weather.  Strawberry shortcake by assembly line ladled-over-biscuit “MORE WHIP CREAM?” in the cheapest possible ‘paper bowl’ “ICE CREAM TOO?” ... with a line that winds across the front yard and down the street on the sidewalk... does not “move inside” well.  Clouds, still air and humidity merge with furtive glances from ‘organizers’ skyward. Groupie local crowding ‘dressed’ for this ‘event’ “fan” themselves and “look around”. Usually concealed henpeck bickering is “brought out” by “festival stress” (so titled and told to I as the “why” of any “odd behavior”).

            Who cares:  I went directly to the bric-brac table.  It was “tucked way back there” in the shade of the historical society’s main historic building... by the ‘back door’ of the original homestead now used as the direct in-out route “to the (historical society’s tiny and inadequate) kitchen”.  There were no antiques for sale on the table.  The same woman who managed the three food tables at the Holiday Fair was managing... inclusive of being the gatekeeper “to the kitchen” (“Careful on the steps UP”).  She was still... “actually very proficient, adept, steady and ‘get the job done’ “no eggnog for me thank you” (as I previously noted).  I don’t know what was “the drink” at this ‘festival’ but I did hear the word “daiquiri”.  I also heard a “THE OLD BLENDER; it makes an AWFUL noise”.
The table manager – gatekeeper was not at all perturbed by any of this TOO so WE were eye to eye on the whole package of the festival so she... with discerning courtesy and deferential grace... says to ME before her at her table “YOU ARE THE old DISH man.  There’s a BOX of those we JUST had donated INSIDE the DOORWAY.  WE HAVEN’T had a chance to WASH them.  It’s a BOX of DIRTY DISHES.  Like the ones you bought before”.
“Oh yes?  (Old) dirty DISHES?  You have some more?”.

“Oh, my, MY:  THEY have a whole CAR load of BOXES they say but ONLY JUST YESTERDAY.  THEY haven’t FETCHED THEM OFF yet.  JUST the one BOX.  GO LOOK at it if you WOULD won’t you.  Mr. Carol is GOING UP THIS WEEK to PICK THEM UP”.
(Mr. Carol is an elderly gentleman who always wears 1930’s type ‘knickers’ and doesn’t bring much to the table except old jokes found humorous by men-past-their-prime and... ‘making himself useful’ by doing things like THIS (picking up the BOXES of OLD CHINA and GLASSWARE... from the dining room (?) of the Savage mansion (?).
ARE THEY (the boxes) FROM THERE?
“SHE’S back.  I BELIEVE she is going to STOP BY LATER.”
I went up the back door steps and “TO YOUR LEFT TOWARD THE SHED”.
“Careful on the steps UP”.

This was the moment of the D-DAY of the Savage Estate contents... distribution... and I ...was on the beachhead of the distribution... and I was the ONLY person on the beachhead of the distribution... and I...
Was TOO STUPID to recognize this and even ‘occur’ the THIS WAS POSSIBLE.  Let alone that THIS was the way it; the distribution of the contents of the Savage mansion, was ...going to be.
And that this was a  WINDFALL in my lap:
All I was going to have to do was banana boxes of old ‘cleaning out’ ‘clutter’... for pittance and ‘I’ll get it all’?  It (this process of Savage estate contents distribution) has now been going on for over a decade.  The historical society’s bric-brac table will have more ‘new’ ‘donations’ for sale ...again... ‘in a couple of months’.

            I went up... step... step... step-step......:
            DOWNWARD visual SCAN.
            BANANA BOX.
            Top on.
            Old dishes visible through top hole.
            BEND over-down and lift-pull lid off.
            “I ah...”
            LID BACK ON.
            Dirty (“no”) banana box FULL
            The old dishes clank together as I
            “Careful on the steps.  Oh you shouldn’t have brought it ALL out.”
            “The box out?”
            “Well yes.  It’s HEAVY.”
            “Not bad.”
            “DID YOU SEE anything YOU’D LIKE?”
            “See?  Anything?  Ah... well... the whole BOX.”
            “Box; the WHOLE box?”
            “Of dishes.  I didn’t LOOK very CLOSE”.
            “They are very dirty.”
            “Dishes.  All dirty dishes”.
            “Well a dollar a piece for any you’d want”.

I set the box down, remove the lid, scan, count while wiggling my finger among the dirty dishes.  The table manager tends another woman while that woman’s friend scrutinizes I, the box, the dishes and ever more dirty hand.  Hearing a pause in the tending talk above me I say “TWENTY-TWO.  SOME ARE BROKEN.  TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS for the BOX FULL.”
“Oh TWENTY-five? Oh... let’s SEE.  Oh.  Yes.  Broken.  I see. Yes.  OH FINE.  You are sure on THAT?
“Sure; twenty-two whole ones” I say standing upright.
“No... Twenty-five dollars is TOO much.”
“No, no,” I say while quickly fluffing a twenty and a five from my jacket pocket to ‘before her’.
She looks at the money, then I, then takes the money.  “Thank-you.”
“No.  WE thank YOU.”

I am already bent over ...again... putting on the box lid.  A few ‘old dirty dishes’ peek through the top hole on the banana box lid.  The ‘friend’ is still ...scrutinizing... EVERYTHING.  “What do you DO with THOSE?” she says.
“Cat food... at the shelter.”
“Oh.  SOME of those PLATES are OLD.”
“Perfect for the cats.  They’re very discerning.”
“Oh.” says the woman.
The table tending woman smiles at me.  I’m holding the banana box.
I take the box to the car.
I leave?
The strawberry shortcake line is still ‘down the sidewalk’.

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