Turkey China With A Milk Punch
“I bought that (twenty one inch turkey decorated platter) off of Alice Small. SHE got it off of Marian Jeffers, Herbert Jeffers wife. Come up out of their place. She (Alice) was given it and that stuck with her the rest of her life. She’d gone up as help at one of those Jeffers’ DINNERS. Thanksgiving WEEK it was. Well... they had all the turkeys on those platters; turkey on a platter with a turkey on the platter. Of course Alice was smitten with that. So after the DINNER Marian says to Alice to take the leavings of one of the turkeys on one of the platters HOME with her. “PLATTER TOO?” she asks and Marian said “Of course Dear.” Alice never got over that OR the platter. Just treasured it. Well I bought from her.
“I got the plates too. Well... some plates anyway. They’re not the SAME as the platter but, you know most of IDIOTS would never notice that. SHE (Alice) got ‘em FETCHED at the SALE of the Jeffers’ stuff. Three days she was up there for that. SHE found a clump of ‘em (the turkey plates) the first day. Another clump the next day. And a couple more the last day. Twelve she found. And that makes sense. That’s a fair set. You know; NICE little turkey plates. English. ‘Bout as OLD as the platter (1950’s). The china’s better in the PLATES than in the PLATTER. NOT TOO good any of it these days for you or me. NOW WE KNOW our old china but these girls today don’t know anything about POTTERY so they THINK CHINA is only good if the CHINA is WHITE as their TEETH. And I say “Your teeth are TOO white DEAR... for New England.” Oh don’t that piss ‘em off.
Jeffers; the old man, he was rigged. Jesus. His boys fall all over themselves just standing in a room with him. I didn’t ever understand that. What’s to FALL DOWN FOR? That old tycoon. SQUAT fat MAN with a WET CIGAR. Puffing it. So what I say. Well... when I was a boy; you know, I was supposed to be sixteen but I was passing that by fourteen. NO ONE CARED. Well, they’d SHOOT UP THERE at Jeffers’ place.
So we BOYS would always SHOOT BACK. You know: They’d THROW those CLAY pigeons and WE’D THROW... well... what ever we thought we could HIT. So one of Jeffers’ boys; Teddy, he come down and said to COME UP and SHOOT. WELL DAMN and up the HILL we went. And they tossed and I’D SHOOT ‘EM. All of us boys DID. Old man Jeffers would SHOOT but couldn’t HIT. Had his gun; NICE GUN that he took out of a SOCK. YOU KNOW; looked like a sock. That he kept that GUN in.
“Then they say HERE have some of THIS. And old Jeffers hands me this little silver CUP. LOOKED LIKE a THERMOS CUP now that I KNOW what one LOOKS LIKE. Anyway. It’s got this MILK IN IT. “MILK PUNCH” they tell me. Old Jeffers says to me to stop looking at it and taste it. So I do and its HOT and SWEET; tastes GOOD. So I take another sip; bigger one. Well Jeffers says to go easy boy that punch kicks back pretty quick. Well I DID know what he was saying even then. I’d been around with older boys quite a bit. Anyway:
We went back to the GUNS. I was hitting them clay birds and nothing from that PUNCH stopped me. In fact I think I shooting BETTER for it. Well so Jeffers; he’s watching me. You know; I was the LITTLE ONE. Well he says “GOOD SHOT”. Then he says to try HIS gun and hands it over. He keeps the SOCK. JUST THE GUN. So after a minute they pull and I PULL. And I miss. That’s the FIRST MISS for my DAY. Jeffers just stands there. Well... I drop that barrel down and look at it. Before I said ‘MILK PUNCH’ I’d taken my jack knife out and peeved that front sight back flush. Jeffers he see me do that and I see him “oh boy” and so I say ‘something KNOCKED that SIGHT out to the RIGHT sir. I put it back.’ Jeffers looks at the barrel sight. Looks at me. ‘Must have been BUMPED in the SOCK’ I say. “Put one up for him” Jeffers says. UP it went and up I went. BOOM. That was it. Jeffers never missed again that day. That milk punch did have a little KICK to it so we had quite an afternoon. Nice fellow really. That’s only time I ever had anything to do with him.
“Alice... she showed me that PLATTER way back when I was first open (his antiques shop). She loved that and I didn’t say here or there. Just OK NICE. So she says it’s Wedgwood. No I say its Wedgwood COMPANY with the damn unicorn. I mean that’s the give away; God damn UNICORN. Yes; that’s FINE CHINA”. Perfect for a turkey and you can DROP IT TOO. Marian Jeffers knew all that. She just bought a STACK of ‘em at SAK’S. You know; nothing. Plates too; “I WANT SOME OF THOSE”. “A CRATE FULL. HOW MANY COME IN A CRATE? PUT IT ON THE TRAIN. These Maine girls never saw anything like that. How’d they suppose to KNOW. I don’t ever tell ‘em. NOW the whole God damn nation thinks it’s GOOD. DAMN. I gotta ASK FOUR HOUNDRED DOLLARS or they think something’s WRONG. One (turkey platter) just fetched a thousand plus down to ***** (coastal Maine auction service). EAT the damn turkey off of the platter. USE the damn plates. IF you break the platter you ain’t busted an antique. But... ok... the CHINA is NICE
“There they go. That’s all they can get from me.”