Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Old and Lonely Antique Shop Owner

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Today’s Blog Post

The Old and Lonely Antique Shop Owner
As we rolled into the very small village I noticed the Antique Shop that was located close to the only intersection of the village. It looked like it might not be open.

This village is so small that there is hardly anything left except the name of the one intersection.

We were Antiquing as part of our 44th Anniversary Day. Alida and I love the same things and walking around and through old shops is a great way to swallow up time… or lose yourself back in time.

The old shop is attached to a much older house. At one time the shop was the local grocery store, and likely the Post Office. It was a place where everyone in the community would meet at one point of each day – or maybe each week. The shop keeper was the central part of the community hub. And as it sits right at the four way stop, it still is the central part of everything.

But today there is nothing for this small shop to be a centre of anything.

Next to the house is a very old church that looks like it does little in the community either. It stands quietly and stately right next to the house. Both are built of the same kind of brick. The possibility that the house was the Manse at one point is real.

As we parked the vehicle out front of the house and walked toward the shop a voice spoke to us from the veranda. You couldn’t see anyone there with all the vines crawling up the veranda front.

“I thought you weren’t going to stop. This is a pleasure” said the old fellow with the British accent. “I’ll be over in a minute, just come in and make yourselves at home.”

We had walked further toward the shop and now I could see the little old fellow. His military style haircut, dark brown eyes and the sun tan made him more visible through the heavy vines around the veranda.

We were now in the shop and beginning our inspection of all that he collected within the establishment.

He entered from the connection between the house and the shop saying to me, “Is this young lady you have with you sir, your daughter?”

My answer was, “Yes she is… and has been for a long time!” My conversational ability was over. I didn’t know how to talk to an old flirt.

The walls were neatly organized with tons of glass pieces of all kinds. There were lids of things that had no bottoms. There were tea pots that had been discarded eons ago. The organization was very good… but had little reason for me to want to buy anything. I don’t do Tea Cups.

And as far as myriad of cabinets full of small glass pieces and the display case with old jewellery – I found nothing.

But there in the middle of the antique shop was a gigantic Asian Mahogany, four poster bed that had been hand carved by some long ago artisan in some far away country. Maybe it was from Bali or from China. The small sign read… “…it is thought to be an Opium Bed… self delivery… $850.”

Now I could be interested in this one! The posts on the bed were about 8 inches around and stood about six feet high. The surrounding support pieces and the intricately carved side pieces were made of solid mahogany. There was enough wood in this old piece that would make it possible for me to carve Celtic Love Spoons until I ended my carving career.

But a Celtic Love Spoon made out of Bali Mahogany… is kind of odd in some ways… especially in that it was once a possible Opium Bed… where Asian Ladies of the Night may have waited for their next customers…

Oh boy. My imagination had gone from zero to about 210 MPH in heart beat.

How in the world did that very old bed arrive in that small, very rural, Ontario, once upon-a-time village… now wedged into rows and rows of antique glass and old stuff???

“Self delivery…?” What about the extraction from the shop?
Maybe Alida and I could use this old bed for our next 44 years?

But why even consider this or anything from the Shop?

The answer is easy. The old fellow was just plain lonely. In fact the feeling of his loneliness stayed with me until today.

I cannot imagine how far it is from his home in Britain. I cannot imagine how far this small village is from the very fast paced world. The village and the Shop is not very far from Ontario’s fast moving #401 Highway… where a gazillion cars and trucks fly by each day… and have no idea that the old guy exists, that the neat and tidy antique shop has the gigantic Asian Mahogany, four poster bed that had been hand carved by some long ago artisan in some far away country. Maybe it was from Bali or from China with the small sign read…“it is thought to be an Opium Bed… self delivery… $850.”

Who on the 401 Highway would want a bed like that… or any of the tea cups sitting in the box next to it….?

On the front porch of the Shop there were dozens of odds and ends of old stuff. It was apparent that the stuff was not taken in when the Shop was closed… or the Shop Keeper wasn’t there. A small hand written sign on the front door reads “If the shop is closed and I am not here, please leave your money or cheque in the box for the item that you wish to buy. Thank you… signed… ”

As we stepped down from the Shop front porch the old fellow asked, “Are you folks on vacation?” in an almost sad tone.

I replied, “Kind of… everyday is vacation now… we are retired.”

He looked at me for a second and then said… “I guess I am too… I am much older than you are.” That was our last word exchange. He wanted more I am sure. I needed to go.

When we sat back in the vehicle and drove away… I felt that I should have at least bought a tea cup.. or maybe the Mahogany Bed… and I wish I could have talked with him more. Guilty… for sure.

I assured him that we will be back again. Oh Boy.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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