If... a man stealing is a second issue... for me... in an old New England estate clean-out...: AND IF I set up the first issue of the clean out of the estate to be my mental fabrication of three card tables of puzzle pieces of ‘stuff I found’ that... I qualified at my beginning of amplification upon those ‘puzzle pieces set up’ with...:
“In this estate I had two issues. The first seems trivial to the pilfering approach of an estate while the second was the stealing raised at the opening of this tale.” (Part Eight).
One could, by oversight, just read by that utterance. Probably shouldn’t. I didn’t.
The first issue; the puzzle pieces tables... have something to say about pilfering (stealing) from this estate? They raise the quandary of pilfering (stealing)... and expand the traditional notion of estate pilfering (estate stealing).
The... three puzzle tables, in reverse order were (1) a discernable group of better quality true antiques that were brought into the estate by... well-to-do family... ‘from away’ (Were these antiques, themselves, pilfered?). (2) A handful of splendid Northern New England made antiques that are classic... old Maine farm... ‘attic treasure’... antiques. (3) the curious need to set up a first table to put puzzle piece about the old dead woman herself. A... portrait... of... her... self; the ‘her’ whole ‘lived there’ self... portrait that she, herself, painted (so to speak) with her actually very scanty ‘stuff’ (puzzle pieces)...; she painted... for me? No: For ‘us’. That includes pilfering, stealing and the... those who did/do that.
It is this first table I look at to fit puzzle pieces to, well... superficially... ‘explain’ the other two tables... but discover quickly that I, in doing the puzzle on this table... recalibrate... the other tables... the contents of the estate, the ‘stuff’ of that contents and... the pilfering of all... that... stuff.
SHE... being dead... left me with my flashlight and the spaces to shine it in so I noticed before that there was ‘cellar’ (not ‘basement’) (Part Eight) and... I’d locked ‘the buildings’ so that, closed and dark, they too required ‘my flashlight’.
At the top of the cellar stairs there was, on the fireplace / chimney shelf... squash, empty clean canning jars and a pair of brass candlesticks with ‘new’ candles in them (‘in case the power goes out’... as if she cared). Below on that side of the ...cellar stairs... was a harness of brussel sprouts set upon a brown paper shopping bag of ‘potatoes’. Both were her last (?) farmer’s market purchases? On the opposite side was a single sweet potato and a ‘store bought’ bag of ‘Vandalia’ onions. Warning shots across my bow... these were and I... DID NOTICE THAT ... in addition to... TAKING THEM. “Pilfer?” you say.
I bought the estate. “Brown Clean” titles the end product of the ‘estate clean out’. I took. “THEY” “ARE MINE”. If I had not put them as ...puzzle pieces... on my ‘Her’ table... I ...would have felt that I DID steal them; pilfer.
Down the cellar stairs to its bottom and there I find:
TWO washtubs of leeks
A single tub of carrots
TWO bushel baskets one third full of beets
FIVE cabbages in a row.
TWO bushel baskets one third full of onions.
The cellar (exterior bulkhead) door.
With it barred with a
“Door Bar” (inclusive of those words written on it... in old black paint)
We took that ‘stuff’ too.
“Didn’t she eat an AWFUL LOT of BEETS!”
There were, actually, still ‘some leeks’ in the garden. “THE DEER HAVE EATEN ALL THE CHARD.” WE: The ‘row’ of brussel sprouts... was harvested... leaving the sprouts ‘on the harness’. “LOOKS LIKE WE ARE GOING TO A FARMER’S MARKET!”
Stealing ‘Her’ garden? Pilfering ‘Her’. That’s right: Pilfering ‘Her’. Yes or no? What puzzle table are we putting this on?
So in the barn there’s her old... hardly ever worn... ever... “Woolrich” “hunting coat” ‘hanging’ up...: “She didn’t wear it”. ON the table that PUZZLE PIECE is ‘out of character’; she only ‘had’ what she actually used (one third bushels of beets). “SOMEONE GIVE THAT TO HER... and she KEPT THAT... ‘cause of that; they give it.” Could that be a GIFT from a THEIF?
Now... her bushel basket ...hoard... back past the coat in the dark barn... “She kept too many of those. MICE living in ‘em SEE there’s one NEST in the BOTTOM OF THAT ONE.” The rest of the stuff there too... that birdseed bag: “PRICY” that stuff is she USED THE BEST”. “Huh.”
“We’ll get that CLEAN OUT right along. TOO DARK for pilfering huh;’ NEEDED a light IN THERE.”
“They don’t STEAL them BASKETS.”
“Well you CAN SELL ‘EM right now. (late ‘mid fall’). A LITTLE scramble RIGHT NOW for ‘em”.
“YEAH BUT not a STEALING scramble.”
“THAT’S her TOOLS. ...Two pitchforks huh.”
“One’s bigger that the other. I use them SMALL ones all the time MYSELF.”
“Put it on the table”.
“Oh I’m sorry. Put ‘em in your truck. I was just thinking out loud”.
“Am I stealing her tools?” ...I said to myself.
“IS YOUR WIFE GONNA USE ALL THE LEEKS. I’d like a HANDFUL for MY WIFE.”
“Take the ones in the wheelbarrow. Take that too.”
“She’s got a few more (wheelbarrows) inside the shed.”
“We’ll get ‘em”.
I put the single sweet potato from the cellar stairs up on the dash of my truck. I didn’t want to loose it.
“SHE LIVED... as CLOSE to the GROUND as anyone I ever know. AND I SKIN THINGS IN MY BACKYARD. I don’t think I EVER seen her wearing SHOES in the SUMMER. THEY SAY SO but I never ever seen her SPIT. SHE was a LADY. NOW YOU KNOW she had all the money SHE EVER NEEDED and I SEE that she didn’t ever NEED MUCH OF THAT. But she was FINE; her... being a LADY. But you know that.
“She look you... you know. Up and down. ONCE SHE KNEW I WASN’T A HALF WIT we were JUST FINE. ASA (Part One)... him STEAL’EN her. Little mousey RAT HIM around HER what she DOING keeping HIM AROUND. WELL THEN I FIND OUT that of course HE’S CUT from that SAME CLOTH. Somewhere back there HE IS THAT. ONCE. But SHE: She was ALWAYS a LADY.”
Is that another card table I need to set up? NO. It’s the second issue. I already said that.
“SHE HAD... her chickens. So then MR. FOX would get her chickens. SO she say to me. I can get Mr. Fox I say. NO she says; I like him too. So she run out of chickens. Fine ok she says she don’t eat many EGGS anyway. So she BUY a few eggs at the (farmer’s) market. You know; just TWO. EGGS. And she buys everything else TOO. Her little pocket book; her little CHANGE purse. YOU KNOW: SNAP. Everyone LOVED HER. Didn’t NEED MUCH. Never. I always said SHE knew more about FARMING than a FARMER. They took her TREE. ONE TIME. The town said it had to go. Big (white) PINE by the road. Down at the END of her (Coon Hill) ROAD. They took it. SOLD IT. They didn’t treat her right. STEALED IT they did. That wasn’t right; a lady like that. YOU CAN STILL SEE the stump. You do that to me your friggen DEAD I told one of ‘em. Then he claimed she CHEWS and SPITS. IMAGINE if she HEAR THAT. Might hear it NOW she’s DEAD. She was that way YOU KNOW: Magic. I always loved her.”