Sunday, August 31, 2014

Peach Pie - Part Four

Peach Pie

Part Four

            He didn’t want to let me go... quite as quick as I got myself let go.  Mildred was in on it too; she hovered between the wet spot and us, facing us and... switching eyes by turning her head back a forth.  I watched her with my hand on the truck door handle and...:  BEFORE MR. could conversationally ascend the chatter ladder he purposed to LEAN upon my departure I ...ascended to within my truck cab.  Without hesitation or courtesy... I turned the truck on, dropped it into drive and took my foot off the brake causing the truck to slowly edge forward.  MR. backed away from the truck in a twist to his left that left him out of reach of my open window.  I kept rolling... away.
            Although I could see in my rearview mirror that his mouth was still moving and that Mildred was now coming down the road at a motivated pace including her head turned to one side to assure a sure view of my... departure, the rolling truck filled the center of the dirt road with the sun shining on the cab as I left the shade of the old maples.  I went up the road to Steward’s ‘old barn’.  I loaded truck... upon the truck... already in my ...truck.  Quickly.  And left.
            I did not go to the transfer station.  I went to an old barn.  I opened that barn’s large front door and backed the truck in... and half way down the inner barn.  I stopped, turned the truck off, got out, looked in passing at a pile of previously deposited truck from Steward’s barn.  My glance finalized at the empty space at the near end of the truck pile.  I then... calmly, quietly, gently and ...without inspection... unloaded the truck from the truck into this empty space.  WHEN I reached the roadside gathered truck in the bed of the truck that had been underneath the Steward’s barn truck... I placed that truck separately across the center isle of the barn in another small pile.  WHEN I had nearly finished doing that I took the ‘dumped’ board pieces off the little barn cupboard... missing its door and having my shirt stuffed in it.
            I took my shirt out of its ‘stuffed in there’ state CAREFULLY.  I peered over the side of the truck into the little cupboard noting the jumble of jars, tins, bottles and further junky old barn cupboard truck.  I spied my seek.  I sneaked my left paw into the cupboard to retrieve that seek and... did.
            UP COMES my arm.  UP COMES my paw.  Up comes my seek.  “MR. THANK YOU.” I say out loud as I ...cradle my small seek and turn toward the front open door of the barn with it spillage of daylight.  Stepping forward to the front of the truck I ...continue to slip further forward into the light as I... turn over; roll over... and over... in my hands my seek that has now become my radiant find, my goblin of gold, my ‘trash picked treasure’.

            What my eye actually beheld was a small (seven inches tall) handled jug with a supple ovoid form and finger handle at its top that was covered with flaking old paint.  This paint was not simply old paint but was... Victorian era oil painting painted old paint... portraying blossoms of flowers (wild rose?) entwining the exterior surface of the jug with its blossoms on the wandering vine that... was rapidly perishing by flaking off as the very seconds ticked by... before my eyes... to flutter like snow to the barn floor.  I, using my spy eye, wrapped all encumbrances and features toward a summation of identification ...fully and formally... denoting dashes of details... that included appraisals of the form, size, handle –with detection of the old hairline crack midway upon it – the bottom’s proper and pleasing ‘age tone’ and usage wear... the hiding glaze and its color and depth, the cork top; its lip, that lip’s flare, the heritage of the Victorian oil paint.. and the... care and the dare of I alone pacing forward into the barn door light as this IT of ‘I find’ boondoggles my information highway with the total aura all of... ‘I know’.
            I did ... and do... know.  It is Kennebec Valley for sure and most probably the Saffords of Monmouth (Maine); a so typical of that form, size, glaze; a ‘redware jug’.  More poignantly; a ...northern... New England redware jug; a Maine redware jug.  An adorable small classic New England Maine Kennebec (river) Valley redware jug just the same as the sames that I have plucked ...with such luck... from the forlorn and the lost garrets, sheds, cellars and barns OF THAT VERY VALLEY here too from THAT farm’s ...roadside barn cast truck pile ‘THAT VERY VALLEY’ too.
I the very roadside first... discerned all that was just now noted... by intensely focused casual glance... to intentionally save the jug upon its rolling shelf clutter travel; from barn to truck... pile... to truck... bed... to, NOW... truck cab.  It... now wrapped in the shirt.
            And heading home.
            To arrive home.
            To be home.
            To have her; my wife, come right out to ‘see’ ‘what’ “Anything?”
            “Yes here”. I say unwrapping my shirt to show... and tell
            First the story.
            Then its story.
            Then my story.
            “Anything else?
            “The piece of peach pie”.


            “WELL YOU HAVE to take the PLATE back.”
            “Not today I’m not”.
            “EAT the pie and take it back.  I’ll wash it.”
            “Not today”
            “You have to.”
            “I will.”
            “When then?”
            “I will wait and do it... in six weeks or so; a rainy cool mid October day.  A cold one with drizzle.”
            “Oh yes”; (she understands the craft. Tee.  Ness.)
            “They’ll be inside that day.  I’ll stop in the morning, well before lunch.  There’s plenty of stuff in that place. ...  I’m going back to Steward’s for another load”.
            AT Steward’s ‘old barn’ I was “sure enough” loading truck when up come MR. in his TRUCK with... no chair.  “SAYS TO TELL YOU SHE WON’T HAVE IT UNTIL TOMMOROW”.  Pause with a visual survey into the open barn behind me.  “WHAT YOU GONNA DO WITH ALL THIS TRUCK?” he continued as he turned to survey the whole UPPER interior of the old barn. 
            “Haul it off.”
            “Lot of work.”
            “Part of the deal.”
            “Good enough”.
            “GOT A LOT OF OLD TRUCK WE DO.”
            “Yep:  I seen that.”
            “SHE WON’T LET IT GO YOU KNOW.”
            “Taking it with her”.
            “NO.  IT STAYS.  NONE of her people EVER TOOK ANY OF IT with ‘em.”
            “Lot of it, huh”.
            “Enough; TOO much.”
            “They BEAT yah.”
            “WELL”:  Pause.  “I GUESS:”
            Mr. turned slowly toward his truck.  He walked slowly to his truck.  He got slowly into the truck.  He backed slowly out and  SLOWLY turned around.  And finally... slowly... left.
            The next day, in the afternoon, he brought the chair up to Steward’s barn and I bought it.

The End

Peach Pie - Part Three

Peach Pie

Part Three

            The next fifteen seconds, usually an awkward mini-moment in domestic antiquarian commercial relations due to a sort of ‘whose on first?’ space gasp (black hole type vacuum that includes human breathing efforts and their noises) that rocket sled G-forces WITHOUT anyone on board ...a transaction... purposed... to its exit.  HERE, I altered that antiquarian requiem for myself by ...turning my thoughts inward first and then; second, coming out the other end of this micro time gap... with an unexpected slice of human salvation.
            My turned thoughts were an inner time travel back along the time line of ‘the chair’ and I.  True I had just been ‘in face’ WITH my own Mr. Wallet about this chair but THAT does not mean I am ‘totally there’ with the ‘the chair’ ‘yet’.  Face it; over the decades I ‘see’ MOUNDS of ‘chairs’ ‘show you’ ‘MINE’, etc.  ETC.  Remembrance IS NOT REQUIRED.  BUT:  Remembrance DOES TAKE PLACE... especially if the chair is both ‘good’ and ‘nice’.  And that foggy “SHOW YOU” is able to be retrieved by my mind’s data base CASCADE down the mountain avalanche style “huh” of inner thought.  UPON that cascade I here traveled in the skipping fifteen seconds.  The data retrieval read:
            A ‘years ago’... I was OUTSIDE by the truck finishing (Mr.) Melbourne’s estate on ***** street RIGHT NEXT to the church when she (the dinged sister) came on foot to the truck and TOLD OF... (not told about)...(‘I’ve HEARD about this?’) ‘a chair’ she ...something... bugged me... left... CAME BACK... because she lived down the street... WITH a chair (now the chair) I SEE IT’S OK... as I’d heard... yak, yak wouldn’t shut-up told her what it was she yak, yak, blank, blank looks OK WORTH ONE HUNDRED twenty-five dollars maybe “REALLY THAT MUCH!” yak, yak about getting it from house cleaning lady job “NEAT FIND HONEY YEAH, YEAH... NO:  JUST A SO WHAT chair REALLY (you can bank me I promise) then on to the cleaning lady jobs people ‘giving her stuff’ WANT TO SELL THAT STUFF SOMETIME MAYBE IF ITS THAT GOOD but doesn’t “KNOW” “I DON’T KNOW?” What it is?  SO cannot take good stuff but ‘WHAT IT IS’ not what it is but WHAT IT’S WORTH?  Yeah that too but AFTER what it is so you GET GOOD STUFF ...blank, blank to big black hole blank of... what it’s worth... is...the... WHAT IT IS ... school of decorative arts comprehension. “I GOT YOU ON THAT IF I EVER want to SELL THE CHAIR I WILL CALL YOU”.  ‘OK THANKS” she leaves I go back to cleaning out Mr. Melbourne’s estate and never see her or chair again (but do HEAR about it) until RIGHT NOW and... I haven’t actually even seen the chair again but.... I...
            On the kitchen counter top the left... of ‘us’; MRS. and I ending the darkness of the silent seconds passing.  My leftward glance is copied by her rightward glance.  Four more seconds of silence pass as we, together, embrace the ...fresh baked and counter top sitting... IN THE FARM HOUSE KITCHEN WINDOW SUNLIGHT golden with congealed rhubarb pink (a known Maine color) oozed juice ‘jail bird’ (the lattice crust) pie.

            MY eyes stay put as MRS. RECOVERS her poise in TOTAL to raise her head toward me and say “DIDN’T YOU SAY YOU’D PAY one hundred FIFTY DOLLARS for her OLD CHAIR I THOUGHT YOU SAID THAT”
            Up come my eyes to lock and load on her eyes and click-bang back “NooO; ONE twenty-FIVE and I DON’T WANT to PAY THAT.”
            “I JUST WASN’T SURE I remember RIGHT.”
            “I do and that’s TOO MUCH for that old chair and you’ve DRAGGED IT AROUND enough to KNOW THAT and I KNOW THAT TOO.”

            Back in her woodchuck hole she’s going and most do except a ‘tough one’ so she BACK FLIPS on to her feet again with a “I GUESS that will HAVE TO DO but I KNOW YOUR DOING JUST FINE at THAT PRICE.”
            “I’m doing JUST FINE WITHOUT that chair RIGHT NOW and to PAY OUT THAT (the $125.00) for THAT CHAIR... PAINS ME”. ( I’ll say right here one wouldn’t think it gets like this; a forest fire fight, but it does and when it starts to burn... I burn back at it... to put it out.)
            “DON’T YOU THINK...” She starts to say and I CUT with
            “I SHOULDN’T have to PAY THAT MUCH?  Absolutely I AGREE.  HOW about FIFTY dollars?”
            “WITH a piece of PIE.”
            “Peach pie.  He said.”.  I SAID... gesturing to MR. who’d remained  a SHADOW until this MOMENT.
            “I.  PIE?  SAID?  I?” he says
            “My PIECE of PIE.” I say.
            “OH STOP IT YOU TWO!” MRS. says with her returning glance to me after her sliced glance at MR.
            “He told me the whole DAMN STORY of the PEACHES”.
            “THEY’RE GOOD PEACHES” says MR.
            “GOOD PIE TOO I see.” I say
            “NOW... OK.” She says and turns to open the cupboard behind her and lifts out a small plate.  She pulls the pie towards her and picks up an old bread knife sized ...but not a bread knife; it is actually a general service old style (not ‘stainless steel) (with an old oak wood handle) kitchen slicing knife that she was about to use to cut the cabbage in half... and... slice, slice, turn the blade on its side and slip in under... then LIFT a peach pie slice up out of the circular golden crust covered glowing pink tinted goo... ON TO the little plate and push... while still holding the slice knife in her hand... the plate AT me (not ‘toward me’) “THERE.”
            “I...” I start to say.
            “For ME? The PIE?” I say entertaining an inner notion of humility.
            “THIS PIE’S STILL HOT”. She says turning her hand up to view the peach goo smeared the length of her little finger.  “THEN I’ll HAVE HIM bring YOU the CHAIR.  He’ll SEE YOU GO BY.  PAY HIM.  DON’T STOP HERE when SHE’S HERE.  I’ll TELL HER HE’S TAKING IT TO YOU.  HE’LL HOLD THE MONEY” she finalizes at him and then slashes her glance back at on me.  “I’m getting my money THIS TIME.”
“I can stop tomorrow.  I’ll be up there another day.” I say .
“No:  I want her OUT of my YARD TODAY too.” She says.
“I’ll watch for him.  Good.” I say and ...pick up MY PIECE OF PIE... on the “don’t bring back” plate.
            MR., after looking at the pie slice, turns and we both go out the kitchen side door.  Together we cross the yard to my truck in the shade under the maple trees by the roadside.  Mildred, the goose, is there too.  She sees us.  As we approach she retreats back up the street toward ‘the wet spot’.  At the roadside and in the shade I reach for the door handle.  MR. says to me “You kept her PENNED UP and got PIE to PROVE IT.”

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Peach Pie = Part Two

Peach Pie

Part Two

            Synchronized unintentionally, our mutual actions of I loading truck while he ...related the peaches-come-to-Maine story... created an at-the-shaded roadside cadence that may be best expressed as... being a natural Maine rhyme and rhythm that most from the outer worlds will never know of... let alone actually experience.  For myself, as a trash picker, in Maine, I am completely ...and happily... immersed in this naturally occurring anomaly of pure Maine... syrup.  Simply; I ‘work’ while the rousted creator of the truck pile ‘talks’.  To me.  While I work.  About ...well...:  THEY GOT YOU.  I don’t fight.  I actually ride it; the banter, its speaker and the cadence.  A singular gold; a surface deposit of singular gold... it is?
            The end points here synchronized.  Too.
            HE completed the tale of the traveling peaches-become Maine pie... by turning his ...eye... again... to the farm’s side door off the kitchen ...simply to ‘check’ ‘to see’ if he’d ‘been caught’... out roadside talking to me beside a... now removed... truck pile he had created WITHOUT official permission from ...the commander and chief ... of his universe.
            I completed my truck loading of the truck... by stepping to the driver’s door of the truck... WITHOUT turning my eye off of the story telling HE ... to open that door and retrieve a wool shirt... of singular good-clean quality (Filson) that I have RIGHT THERE to ‘put on’ just at moments like this.  The shirt MUST BE ‘singular good-clean’ and meet one hundred percent no comment needed approval to any and all strangers.  THAT’S WHY IT the shirt it is... where that shirt is... ALWAYS.  It’s the small details in this industry (trash picking to fine arts) I promise.
            Usually I do this retrieve to be putting that shirt on... to protect my other ‘good-clean’ from getting dirty ‘as I load’.  TODAY I ...simply held the collapsed shirt in my left hand as I reach up and over the truck side.... to quickly and calmly lift the ...I left them exposed remember... ‘dumped’ boards on the ‘daintily’ set cupboard and:  Swung the left arm with the shirt up and over too... to where this left arm could QUICKLY and CALMLY stuff that shirt into the dirty, ratty and buried top shelf of that cupboard to assure ME that it (the shirt) would tightly wedge anything loose on THAT SELF from moving as I ...get out of there.  I further:  Knew this action was needed and must be done right so would protect the art object I ...sacrificed (?) ‘my shirt’ ‘for’ to ‘protect’.  Knew that I must not attract the story teller’s attention by taking this emergency protective action.  Knew that I must not take my eyes off of ‘the story’.
            AND DID all that ‘I further’ successfully without any-any OR a ‘catching on’.  Sorry to so ‘big deal’ on this but it is actually a BIG DEAL:  There is no point in trash picking fine New England decorative arts and then breaking them when one leaves the sight of antiquarian acquisition.  CLEAN courteous behavior HERE quelled any notion of I being a trash pile purloiner.  This is a skill.

            It also brought us to the end of our roadside flirt?  It should have and I was ‘cab and go’ ready so was about to step on the exist verbiage AND into the cab... and go BUT.
            “JEZZ SHE... just... SPEAK OF YOU... (mumble) other DAY”.
            “ME ...she?”
            “YAP.  SAID so.” HE says looking again toward the side door.
            I ...gave the truck load a ‘do I – I don’t’ need to tie off the load GLANCE as I ‘oh no’ myself... to collect myself to say “Said so what?”
            “OH that her SISTER... you know HER SISTER... that woman... right... so SHE SAID SO ‘bout you’s and HER CHAIR AGAIN YOU REMEMBER I KNOW.”
            “Sister’s CHAIR?”
            “SHE say so ‘bout you BUYING her chair.”
            “NOT EVER YET.  She ain’t SOLD ME that CHAIR.”
            “YAP... suppose NOT.”
            “SHE said SO but SHOULD BE buying it NOW she SAY.”
            “Your wife or the sister?”
            “HER sister’s CHAIR.”
            “WHO SAID I should BUY IT”.
            “OH SHE mad that SHE owes her THAT MONEY”
            “The sister’s mad?”
            “NO SHE OWES THE MONEY.  GOLLY... don’t I HEAR about THAT.”
            “The sister owes her money”.
            “The sister should sell?”
            “BUT WON’T.  SEE:  THEY BOTH took that chair OUT to SELL.
            “And didn’t sell it?”
            “COULDN’T SELL IT SHE SAID.”
            “NO ONE PAID IT.”
            “Paid for it?”
            “PAY what YOU PAY.
            “My offer?”
            “YOU SAID.  No one paid.”
            “What I offered?”
            “I’ll GO TELL her you’re OUT here about the CHAIR.”

            He did:  He turned and walked straight to the side door off the kitchen and went in... and about forty seconds later... came back out... and started waving his hand at me ‘to come’.  For the record I concede that the above recorded banter may seem ‘difficult’ to the unwashed ...standing naked in a Maine washtub but I do point out that it is PURE YANKEE TRADER get the job done linguistics... as understood by the speaker using his best verbal abilities of ‘pure Yankee trader’ that DID GET THE JOB... from his perspective... DONE:  I AM NOW GOING INSIDE the farm house to talk to his wife about the sister’s chair.  He got that job DONE.
            I, myself, wasn’t so sure about this ...opportunity.  MRS. ‘is a tough one’.  The sister ‘is dinged’.  BOTH are their ‘that’ in the locally understood sense.  By this time I was at the side door being ...ushered in.
            MRS. ...rolling a fresh garden harvested cabbage in front of her... opened discourse with “YOU SHOWING UP FOR THAT CHAIR I AIN’T GOT IT HERE YET.”
            “Well he’s SAYING something about the chair but I CAN’T TELL WHAT.”
            “Yep;  CLEAN THAT out.”
            “SHE’S COMING over LATER for DINNER. I’ll CALL HER and have her BRING that CHAIR ALONG.  COME BY THEN I’ll HAVE IT”.
            “She wants to SELL IT?”
            “WE JUST TALKED the OTHER DAY saying you’d PAY the MOST SO I SAYS SELL and she DOES TO.  I’ll HAVE IT HERE for YOU.  JUST STOP when your GOING BY.
            All this ‘chair’ can use a little back ground here?  This ‘the chair’ was somehow acquired by the sister from a now deceased woman who had a summer home along the shore where this sister worked as a cleaning lady.  It is a ...refinished and hand painted tole style decorated New England – probably Maine made - arrow back arm chair with particularly good height and leg splay.  Somehow she was ‘given’ the ‘old chair’.  I was, after hearing about it for a while, shown it and asked how valuable the ‘ANTIQUE’ chair “IS”.  I said its probably worth a hundred twenty-five.  THAT ‘is worth’ verbal appraisal quickly turned into an “I OFFERED” price.  This offered price became fixed between the two sisters.  After a while the purloining sister ‘decided to sell’ I heard.  She did not come to me.  I heard she was taking the chair around to antiques shops trying to get one hundred fifty dollars for it.  THIS ‘SHE’ SISTER ‘went too’.  They failed to sell the chair.  They did not contact me.  Ever.  They ‘gave up’ trying to sell the chair?  Suddenly today... after HE... out roadside with me and his truck pile... recalls that SHE was talking about the... chair and I... I find myself INSIDE THE FARMHOUSE... kitchen ... ‘buying’ the chair for my ...verbal appraisal price... of one hundred twenty-five dollars after SHE and the sister have failed to ‘sell’ the chair to ANYONE AND... the dinged sister owes the tough sister money.  So... as the fresh from the garden cabbage is about to be put in the old wooden shredder box and shaved ‘to slaw’... this tough sister wants me to the chair from her ‘come by later’ and PAY HER cash so she can... get the money her dinged sister owes her.  Happens all the time...:  “I’ll be GLAD to do THAT.” I say conclusively.
            The cabbage stops rolling and the shredder box remains untouched as MRS. looks up at me with the “DID I JUST MAKE A BARGAIN” look I ...’happens all the time’... SEE all the time.
            “WELL I DON’T HAVE IT HERE YET.” She says firmly.  Leaving herself an ‘out’?  OF COURSE; ‘happens all the time’.... SEE IT ALL THE TIME.  Too.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Peach Pie - Part One

Peach Pie

Part One

            The girlfriend was riding in the car with her boyfriend.  In North Carolina.  The boyfriend’s father was driving the car.  They became behind an old pickup truck.  It was from South Carolina.  The pickup truck had high wooden slat walls above the sides of the truck.  Inside the slat walls were piled handled baskets full of peaches.  Following along behind the pickup truck, the boyfriend’s father observed the peaches and said “Those are fresh picked peaches there.  They must be taking them to the (local outdoor farmer’s) market.  I want to get some of those.”
            They followed the truck to its vendor’s spot at the market and promptly purchased a basket (half bushel) of the peaches for twelve dollars.  “I only want half of the peaches.” the father said to the girlfriend and boyfriend.  “You guys can have the rest and take the basket back with you.”
            To Maine.
            The next day the boyfriend and girlfriend drove to Maine.  They drove back to the girlfriend’s family farm in Maine.  This farm is where she grew up.  It took them two days to drive there.  As usual.  When they arrived at the farm they took the basket of peaches inside the farmhouse and set it down on the old worn pine wood floor of the old farm’s kitchen.  Everyone in the Maine farm family looked at the basket of peaches.  Then they looked over the peaches.  Then they handled a peach.  Finally several members of the family... ate a peach.  Each.
            The whole family agreed that these were the finest peaches they’d ever eaten that any of them could ever remember ever eating.  Then they discussed ‘how bad’ peaches sold in Maine ‘are’.  This included several short oral stories of notably ‘bad’ peaches eaten in Maine. 
The boyfriend and the girlfriend said they wanted to make a pie with some of the peaches.  “Should we make TWO pies?” they asked.  “No... only one pie so there will be a lot of these very good peaches left just to eat.”  Too.  All agreed.  The boyfriend and the girlfriend made the peach pie the next day.  It was for “desert” after the homemade lobster roll dinner. 
The family bought twelve lobsters to make the lobster meat for the lobster rolls.  They bought them from David Force’s boy Richard... right from his lobster boat.  Richard was ‘lobstering’ for the summer and was ‘leaving for school’ ‘next week’.  ‘The Wife’ cooked the lobsters on the kitchen stove with the little pile of rockweed (seaweed)... Richard had added to the lobsters in the plastic cooler the family brought with them to ‘haul’ the lobsters home in... in the bottom.  After the pile of cooked and drained lobsters had cooled, ‘The Wife’ ‘shucked them out’ and put all the lobster meat in a class covered dish ‘down cellar’ to ‘cool’ and then ‘keep cool’.  ‘The Wife’ then made some of ‘her mayonnaise’ to put on the lobster rolls.  She also ‘looked to’ the hot dog buns she’d bought ‘in town’.
            While all this happened I had gone by the farm of this family... to go a quarter mile further down ‘their road’ to the next old farm... about six times.  I was in the process of ‘cleaning out’ the contents of the ‘old barn’... that was one of two barns of the ‘old’ J. H. Steward farm.  This older barn was across the road from the rest of the Steward farm buildings.  I had, after several years of extended-with-no-action-taking-place dickering, finally ‘purchased’ ‘the contents’... of this old barn.  Having paid for my purchase in full, I was now ‘hauling it (the contents) away’.  I was doing this by myself in my truck with no help in order to ‘keep costs down’.  I had made six trips of ‘hauling truck’ from this barn to one of my barns.  I was returning for my seventh load.

            As I drove by the ‘farm of this family’ on this seventh load trip... I was surprised to spy a fresh pile of old-barn-clean-out type truck piled out beside the road with the ‘evidently the’ pile builder; Mr. Head of Household of this farm, walking back towards his barn.  I stopped my truck beside his truck pile.  I got out of my truck and very, VERY, VERY quickly scanned the truck pile AS Mr. Head of Household heard my truck, heard my truck stop and turned himself to face me while still half way to his barn.
            “YOU THROWING OUT THIS TRUCK?” I ...spoke loudly... in his direction.  He hesitated, looked to the SIDE door of the farm house and then proceeded to ...slowly... walk over to me as I stood... at the roadside beside his truck pile... that was in the shade under one of the large old maple trees this farm ‘has’ along the road.  He ‘come over’.
            “You throwing out this truck?” I said to him again upon his arrival roadside.
            “Well... I SUPPOSE I am.” he said after a pause and a look at my face.  He knew who I was and what I was and I ...knew who he was and what he was and... we had not communicated directly for at least a dozen years but ...that did not matter at all and was, by our mutual standard, ‘usual’ so therefore ‘we’ ‘know each other’.  The facial look combined with the pause was because HE knew I am an antiques dealer and ALSO that he’d just put all this truck out from his old barn and ...that doing that had caused me to stop... ‘immediately’.
            “I’ll HAUL it OFF.” I say.
            “What... you do... THAT FOR?”
            “Steward’s barn.  THAT’S WHERE you AT?”
            “BOUGHT the CONTENTS.  Just hauling the TRUCK now”.
            “I seen you HAULING ALL MORNING”.
            “Getting it DONE:  LOT OF TRUCK.”
            “WHERE you HAULING?”
            “That fangled TRANSFER STATION.”
            “You DON’T USE that TRUCK?”
            “NO:  Already TOOK what I WANT.  Gotta CLEAN IT OUT.  Part of the DEAL.”
            “Oh... FANGLED is the RIGHT WORD... for that... TRANSFER STATION.  Ain’t it.”
            “FANGLED and a CREW TOO.”
            “THEM LOAFS!”
            “WELL... they REE... CALIBRATE that SCALE when they see ME COMING.”
            “They SCALE YOU?”
            “Eyeball SCALE me FIRST.”
            “THEM STEALING.”
            “DUMP IT OVER THERE they say;  pick it over nasty”.
            There is a pause of four seconds and I say:
            “I’ll HAUL THIS TRUCK.  SAVE YOU.  Won’t SCALE YOU”.
            “I ain’t HAULING THIS TRUCK THERE.  ...Nope.  Leave it right HERE.  SOMEONE will HAUL IT OFF.”
            “I will right now for you.  GOING UP THERE soon as I LOAD at STEWARD’S”.
            “Well... I suppose... you CAN can’t you.”
            I bend down and pick up a small barn shelf-cupboard that has long been missing its door and has a bunch of jars and cans rattling around in it as I lift it ...making very sure it stays level... up and over the side of my truck and set it... daintily... down in the pickup bed right behind the driver’s seat.  I immediately pick up and ‘dump’ three old short board pieces on top of this... daintily set... cupboard.  I continued to load the rest of the truck into the back of my ...truck... making sure to leave this cupboard and it’s cover boards ‘still exposed’.
            “WELL to see YOU STOP is a surprise.  FIGURE I seen you HAULING them ANTIQUES you BUY.”
            I pause in the loading and turn towards him.  His back is to the farm house and we are both in the shade of the tree by the road.  “I see ***** (his daughter) IS HOME”.  He looks over his shoulder toward the farm house SIDE door; the one off the kitchen.
            “BACK just for a FEW DAYS”.
            “Nice to see her?”
            “Oh Jesus; have to HIDE half the time from ‘em.  FIX’EN everything ALL THE TIME in there.  Make ‘en PEACH PIE this MORNING.”  He looks again at the side door.  “SHE’S MAKE THEM LOBSTER ROLLS.  STINK UP THE WHOLE HOUSE.  I SEE my CHANCE:  I make ‘en a NEW ROOM for Mildred IN THE BARN.  RIGHT IN THAT CORNER.” He says turning and pointing to the far front corner of the barn where the sun burns on it.  “ROOM in there already just filled with this old TRUCK from HER FAMILY.  So I says today’s the day when she STINKS the HOUSE all morning. 
            Mildred is the farm’s old goose.  Mildred, everyone who visits knows... is best kept in sight and at a distance.  IF one looses sight, the next thing that happens is Mildred will have snuck up behind you and BIT your... behind.  A NASTY old goose and I ...quickly spied Mildred up the roadside on the other side of the farm house out by the road at ‘the wet spot’... watching me... as soon as I had exited my truck.  She, I could see at a glance... still had one eye on me.
            “Gonna DRAG her PEN AROUND in a while.” he says now thoughtfully eyeing my face as the notion of a hidden agenda enters his mind that I... could help with that.  That notion is quashed by the second notion that that would mean I being there (in the barn) and thereby causing ‘The Wife’ to discover all works in progress... and thereby ‘shutting everything down’ ...including my taking the truck pile.  We both look up the road at Mildred.  She has one eye on us.  “***** (the daughter):  SHE BROUGHT THEM THESE BEST PEACHES I EVER TASTED BACK WITH HER” he continues as we resume our poise of he overseeing me load his truck into my pickup truck bed.  He, at this moment, now tells me the peach story... with the lobster roll story... that I opened with.  I load his truck... into my truck... while he does this.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cowboy Down - A Conversation Between Two Professional Thrift Shoppers - Part Four - "It's Crap Your Crap"

Cowboy Down

A Conversation Between Two Professional Thrift Shoppers

Part Four

"It's Crap.  Your Crap"

            “Well... you’re the one who thinks our relationship is weird.  I just think it’s special.”
            “When your over in the corner of the (thrift) store coaching that Neanderthal on some junk platter... I don’t call that special.”
            “But you have to extend the history of the relationship AND where we are.  SF and I would never ever even NOTICE each other in the real world yet here, in the thrift store setting, we’ve actually become... what I guess I’d call ‘thrift shop friends’.”
            “So tell us the story.”
            “Well... one day... SF was just THERE in front of me blocking the bric-brac with his butt and I was, like,  ‘GET AWAY FROM ME YOU CREEP’.
            “And, ok, he’s there dressed as usual.”
            “Yeah, yeah.  Cargo shorts.  Combat boots.  Black kill, kill, kill logo tee shirt.  Dirty ball cap.  His arms and legs are all tattooed.  He’s huge.  He’s dirty.  I mean:  YUCK.”
            “And he won’t move.”
            “So you go away.”
            “I didn’t have a choice.”
            “So after he leaves you go back to bric-brac.”
            “But from then on you start to see SF in the thrift stores all the time.”

            “Yeah... I, like, SEE him.”
            “So you watch him.”
            “And he drives this big black pickup truck.”
            “Right.  I see that right away.  It’s big with the big tires and painted flat black and has his yellow ‘don’t tread on me’ plastic license plate on the front.  I mean:  Yuck.”
            “So next you...”
            “Well FIRST I start calling him ‘SF’.  That’s because when I go to the thrift stores and am parking I see his truck there already.  So I start calling him SF.”
            “And that means?
            “Special Forces.  I figure he’s, like, a MILITARY guy.  You know:  Having trouble readjusting to the real world while also still being like a little BOY playing with his TRUCK under the Christmas tree.  You know.  Video games.  Frozen pizza.  LIKE: what woman is gonna marry THAT.”
            “But, ah, you realize he’s actually trying to buy things to resell.”
            “YES!  He’s like buying CD’s and radios and that crap.  But I notice that because, well, of the way he IS and that I notice ANYONE who is doing anything (actively buying) in the thrifts.  I mean; he was actually going at it (looking to buy stuff).”
            “So you call him SF and he starts being in, like, bric-brac when your there more and more.”
            “Yes.  And I’m like... ‘get away from me; go over to the radios’.”

            “And he isn’t noticing you.”
            “Right.  I guess.”
            “But you notice he’s looking for art.”
            “Yes.  And.  I mean.  I’m a sucker for that show.  I can’t resist watching.  I know; you just blow ‘em off but I find it really interesting.  I mean... here’s this giant tattooed pile of dog poop butt blocking me while he looks at a crummy painting.  Like he holds it up to his face to see if it’s signed.  I mean... it a HOOT.  So I start watching him.  It’s obvious he knows nothing about art.  But it’s also obvious somehow he’s found out he thinks he can SELL art.  So... I mean... COME ON:  SHOW ME.”
            “And then he figures out your watching.”
            “Yeah.  I think he’d seen me but because I wasn’t bleach blond, spiked heals and tattooed he just dismissed me.  I’d be, like, his mother’s age.  I figure either his mother dresses like that too or has disowned him.  He’s in the ‘buy him a bar of soap’ group so I think his chooses his own wardrobe.”
            “You’ve mentioned that to him.”
            “Well... mention; that doesn’t do any good.  He’s still, like, thinks I’m weird because I don’t dress like him.  Ha, ha.  I mean really.
            “Ok so what happened.”

            “Well I’m just there around him and he doesn’t really bother me because he doesn’t BUY anything good so big deal but then he starts, like, looking at what I’m buying.  And anyway, when I do that, I’m like in and out real fast; grab and go.  You know; it’s there, I buy it.  It takes two seconds.  And he’s standing there the whole time.”
            “So he sees you and figures out you’re a dealer buying to sell?”
            “No.  I don’t think that.  I think he saw the stuff I bought and, since he was looking at the stuff and, like, may have looked at something I bought, he started to notice me.”
            “So he asks you what your doing?”
            “Well.... I took a plate off the shelf next to him.  I mean; it was right next to him.  So he says.  Well... he sort burps out... something about the plate and then says ‘you know what that is?’  I’m like, of course I know what it is but I just say ‘red transfer ware’ and he’s, like, ‘that plate?’.  And I’m, like, ‘yeah the plate is 1850’s antique English Staffordshire red transfer ware Adams 'Chess Players' pattern see it says so on the back’ and he just stands there and then says ‘that’s an antique really’.  I go ‘no.  I’m pretending it is.’  He just looks at me.  I figure I’m the first woman who ever sassed him.  Then I say ‘of course it’s a real antique everyone knows that.   I’m gonna sell it for forty-five dollars.  Maybe sixty-five’.  He just stands there.  So I say ‘go change your shorts.  You just filled ‘em with shit’.  That’s how we started talking.  He never got over it.  He still talks about that plate.  I’m, like, I SOLD the damn plate two years ago get over it.  You know how many plates that crap pile has showed me since then.”

            “Ok, ok:  We have to make an adjustment here.  We’re gonna loose the reader.  Two things are happening here from your perspective.  The first one is easy to understand.  You go in the thrift store and clear off  (buy) any antique you find.  You do that fast, scanning everything, touching very little or nothing at all except what you buy, scanning the whole thrift shop space briskly with all the people in it including SF and quickly taking your loot through check out politely paying exact cash and are gone on to the next thrift shop.  Right?
            “So the second thing happening there is SF and your passing interactions with people like him.”
            “And those are... what do we call it...:  Professionally social people.  You courteous-chat, with anyone you ‘thrift shop know’ as you move along your streamlined professional visits to each thrift store.”
            “Yes.  That’s continual.  You never know who your gonna meet or see in a thrift store.”
            “Right.  And that’s the second thing.  That; the people and your interactions with them.  Including SF but most contacts are much more minor path crossings.”
            “Yes.  To me it’s (these social contacts) a big part of my day; all the different people in the thrift shop setting.  It’s (the thrift shop store space) sort of the STAGE for that.  And it’s filled with impromptu actors acting.  Acting out their lives really.  Right in front of you.”
            “And that has nothing to do with the antiques.  Your just like ‘over there’ buying them.  Anyway.  I mean; your there for THAT and get that job done quickly, easily and with no competition.  But the PEOPLE catch your eye.”

            “More than catch my eye.  It’s really the whole world right there in those little spaces going at it over pairs of old used shoes.  I mean:  You can’t buy that.  It’s just raw.  It’s great.  NOTHING is anything EXCEPT pure humanity.  There isn’t even ART and I’M the one there buying all the art anyway and nobody cares.  It’s the real thing.  I buy a painting and the other people think I some sort of idiot old woman.”
            “But you really like the social realm.”
            “Oh yes.  That’s what really makes the whole thrift shop scene for me.  That’s what made it WHY I don’t go anywhere else.  It’s total surround in there.  Bleeding right in front of me live.  Very pure.  The jargon.  The utterances.  Pure human expressions all over the place.  You can’t buy those there and take ‘em home.  Oh you can think about it later; you saw that.  Heard that.  But... you can’t buy it and take it out the door like a painting.  THAT stays behind.  Like... whatever  SF and I talk about or look at STAYS inside the thrift store.  HE’S part of my ME in those stores.  It’s not like a grocery store in there.  It (a thrift store) makes those stores look like the social lies they actually are.  Even the fancy thrift stores.  You know; Greenwich (CT).  AS fancy as they are they are still that bone raw inside the door.  And it’s OVER when you LEAVE and that same door closes behind you.”

            “And so in the middle of all of that you found SF.
            “Yeah.  He doesn’t know anything.  He wants to.  But he never will.
            “You coach him a little.”
            “But really... not very much.  Just chit chat in the store about something that I’m buying or catches his eye.  I always tell him:  That’s crap.  Your crap.  He’s never gonna go to a museum.  He can barely go to a thrift store.  I mean.  Most of the thrift store; the stuff and the scene, goes right by him.  Like you say; it’s too advanced for him.  The thrift stores are too advanced for him.  For most of the people in ‘em for that matter.  They’re just actors and stage crew being humanity.  Or is it the other way around in there (the thrift stores).  Is it humanity being actors and stage crew.  The theatre is the (thrift store) space.  That’s what I figure interests me.  Most.  About being in them”
            “You do get it.”
            “Yeah:  But... It’s crap.  Your Crap.  I take the good stuff.”

            “Ok.  Let’s go back to that; buying good antiques in the thrift stores.”
            “Let me say one more thing about just that.  You know.  If you don’t get it; what we’re just talking about... you  not gonna find great antiques for sale cheap in the thrift stores.  You just not.  It’s a bigger thing there.  You better know that before you start trying to compete with me.  Us.  I know you know what I’m talking about.  You gotta know a whole lot about art and decorative arts but... you gotta be able to SEE people real well.  And then, if you can see people well... the thrift stores are where you go to do that really well.”
            “That’s pretty fair to say.”
            “Yeah; it’s crap, your crap and the thrift stores are fill with it but it’s up to you to know the difference.  And in there... it’s right in front of you.”
            “You mean humanity.”
            “AND a great piece of art dirt cheap.  Ha, ha.”