"Canoe and Camera"
“As I said... I’ve been MEANING to CALL you. But: WELL... I’ve been WITH MY BOYS all FALL... HUNTING. And now... WE’LL get THROUGH the HOLIDAY SOON ENOUGH and if the ICE IS THICK we’ll be OUT ON THE ICE. You ever DO that?”
“Ice fish? No.”
“WELL MY BOYS: They’ll ONLY be YOUNG THIS ONCE. I bought us EACH snow machines. And we take BOTH TRUCKS.”
“That sounds like fun: Nice.”
“IT IS nice. Special. But I don’t get my JOB done. If you know what I mean.”
“THIS AH... well... the HELEN SAVAGE FAMILY; their PAPERS: I spoke to you. Remember?” continued the historical society collections curator (?, it might be ‘elected collections officer’).
“Twice now...you have... I remember; about a box of letters then... right again this FALL at your Autumn Fair.” I said.
“THAT... was a NICE fair; PERFECT weather.”
“Pretty crowded it LOOKED”.
“GOOD LOOK all around THAT DAY”.
“SO... as I said THAT DAY... she’s FOUND a lot MORE of the FAMILY’S PAPERS. AND she said she’s SHOWN them TO YOU.”
“Well... the ROOM; her LIBRARY room: She took me IN THERE.”
“YES THAT ROOM... is quite a ROOM... I understand.”
“You’ve been IN there?”
“THERE? Room; no. BUT: See: I WILL BE... right ALONG I suppose. LIKE I SAID... I’ve been WITH MY BOYS.”
“So... that room is as FULL as she says it is?”
“Yes.... that’s what...WELL I GUESS SHE WOULD KNOW.”
“Did you see the MIRROR SHROUD?”
“SEE? No. But she TOLD ME about THAT: SEE HIS FACE. Old One John Savage.”
Pause and then the curator continued:
“WE really NEED to TAKE PICTURES OF THAT DON’T WE.”
“Pictures? Me? Ah... no.”
“WELL not YOU. BUT the SO-CIE-I-TY should you see. RIGHT?”
“Oh yeah, yeah.”
“We got the... WELL... THAT MR. (Dump) SAYS he’s got one of them NEW (remind; this is fourteen years ago) CAMERAS that’s a COMPUTER CAMERA. You seen those? Pictures go RIGHT ON the COMPUTER.”
“Yeah... I’ve seen ‘em. Don’t use one.”
“Well that’s fine I don’t EITHER but HE SAYS WITH ONE ...WE get the photographs PUT ON THE COMPUTER right straight THROUGH. Slick as smelt he says. And not ROUGH CUT either: Finished. So we’re gonna BUY one of those cameras and start DOING THAT. You know; not JUST for there but for the SO-CIE-I-TY.”
“Right. You all haven’t SEEN the ROOM?”
“Oh no not YET. SHE SAID she’d SHOW US but... well THIS FALL JUST WENT. Now she’s GONE. For the winter.”
“So no one’s been UP THERE?”
“Yeah; she told you. About the room she SHOWED me. But no one from the society’s BEEN UP THERE?”
“OH WELL three COMMITTEE women WENT UP.”
“For the Autumn FAIR.”
“She give ’em TWO BOXES of DONATIONS.”
“Two boxes of donations?”
“For the SO-CIE-I-TY table.”
“The bric-brac table.”
“Well SOME OF IT DID but the rest they SAVED for the HOLIDAY FAIR”.
“Oh.”... was my only outside verbal utterance but this concealed a full internal SCREAM, meltdown, action review, memory film of that action review-review and a gasp as I... FLASHBACK YEAH THEY DID ALWAYS DO HAVE a ...bric-brac 6 by 3 foot folding table... off in the beside the doorway corner... with CRUD on it... for sale that I ...always look at (“NOT ONLY ALWAYS” but ...IS... THE.... REASON... ‘I go there’). (?). And I did ‘buy some stuff’ ‘off of it’ yeah STUPID Victorian glass and china bric-brac “WHAT?”.... from the SAVAGE ESTATE IT IS THE RIGHT AGE FOR THAT RIGHT STUFF I DID BUY a cup and saucer and some honeycomb (pattern) goblets and a ...DISH.
“THAT IS A SWEET MEAT DISH!”
“I still got that stuff”.
“It’s in the barn”.
IS FROM THE SAVAGE ESTATE!”
I missed what he was saying.
I mean: I THINK I missed something I THINK he was saying
Because he was rambling along about
“Mr. (Dump) has been very helpful with that and I...
“HELPFUL with WHAT did you say”
“Well he does SPECIALIZE in those KINDS OF old papers so HE WILL be helping US to look at them”.
“Look at them? Mr. (Dump)?”
“He IS right around here you know.”
“Yes I am getting to know that.”
“We’re going to TRY to GO IN this WINTER once we ARRANGE that with Mrs. (Helen Savage) Roth’s attorney. Mr. (Dump) is speaking to HIM just along NOW about the DETAILS of what we’d like to DO in there. I SPOKE with him (the lawyer) but I am not familiar with the NEWER processes of ORGANIZING... historical... archives. The photography and all. YOU know about our SCANNING COMMITTEE. THAT is going along VERY WELL. Easy as MY MOTHER’S PIE once they’re ON that computer. I didn’t know... in fact I don’t think ANYONE had ANY IDEA how MUCH the so-CIE-I-ty actually HAS for HISTORIC DOCUMENTS. THAT’S JUST documents. NO LETTERS or the DAIRIES yet. A DAIRY takes a LOT to SCAN. We have volunteer STUDENTS coming in from the HIGH SCHOOL to HELP Mr. (Dump) and some of them are QUITE GOOD at it: REAL COMPUTER WIZ-KIDS.”
The curator (?) continued but a net summary had already been issued from my innards: Someone(s) has/have cut a BIG HOLE in the floor of the Savage mansion and ‘stuff’ was already FALLING IN THAT HOLE. Soon someone(s) will come out of the hole and SHOVEL STUFF IN TO IT? The conversation continued with direct probe of my ‘interest’ ‘in her family papers’:
“...being of INTEREST TOO YOU?”
“I really have not LOOKED at very MUCH. I will say that I am coming to BELIEVE that the local history content... aside from the actual FAMILY history... may prove to be the STONG FEATURE of the archive.”
“Does that interest you?”
“I believe... I would probably DEFER my interest to YOUR INTEREST if that proves to be the case. I HAVE NOT inspected the archive yet. It is undisturbed right now. As I saw it. If someone goes in that room... they should be kept on a leash. I didn’t touch anything. Or move anything.”
“How are we going to look at it without doing that.” he said
“Under very STRICT supervision”.
“Because... if no one knows what’s in that room then no one can know if something is missing from that room.”
That observation from I to THE UNIVERSE was... not noted.
(This same observation applies to the scanning of the historical society’s ...archive... by... Mr. [Dump] who is... left alone with the... high school students; a fox with the chickens... to do that).
The conversation then ‘wound out’ as a perfunctory declaration from the curator:
“I won’t be the ONE FOR THAT (doing the inventory of the archive in the Savage library room). ...... I’m buying EACH of them (his sons) CANOES for Christmas. One for myself TOO”.
“That’s a nice gift: Paddle and portage when spring comes.”
“Yes Sir. Looking forward to THOSE days”.
“Santa’s MasterCard doing that?”
“Oh no. I’ve been selling some of my own collection (of ‘old paper’- rare books, Maine history, etc.).
“Yes. That Mr. (Dump) has shown a lot of interest in it. I never thought anyone cared but he’s been selling it on that INTERNET for me. They have AUCTIONS on that (the internet) now.”