Tuesday, April 24, 2012

T. E. Story #65

After a brief look at the bridge, Josh and I moved into the village of Piscatawny proper.  There is a small green in the center of the village with a marker on a green and an old pirate cannon in the middle.  This celebrates some small skirmish here with the town and some river pirates about a hundred years ago.  Anyway, we stopped in front of an alehouse there and Josh and I went in for a drink and some lunch.  Two glasses of sasperilla and bowl of tasty stew later we went back out to the wagon to find several people gathered around it.  There were six wagons parked around the center of the village and we were immediately approached and asked if we were were the painters with the sign on the wagon.  So commenced the involvement with the customers.  Two of the wagons had come down from around Oxen Run, by another road on the advice of Mrs. Mattingly, and three were from along one of the side roads that saw the signs that Hezzie put out on that area church.  One of the wagons was from the village.  The lady was shopping for some cloth and saw the sign on the wagon while we were eating lunch.  One of the families wanted me to come to their house to do some painting similar to what I did for the Mattingly's, four needed letters written and one person wanted me to do a fancy sign for his farm to put along the road.  It looked like a full afternoon, so I asked "JJ" when he came in to go with Josh up to the blacksmith, and get the wagon taken care of.  The alehouse owner offered me a table in the back of the dining room to work on the letters and the sign, so I moved my stuff out of the wagon, and moved it into the alehouse.  Several of the men were wearing or carrying guns so I slipped my revolver into it's shoulder holster and donned my coat to cover it.  Josh and "JJ" left town and headed across the bridge taking the road North to the blacksmith.  "JJ" took his horse and will look at the mill while he is in the area. I got busy with the letters, asking the gentleman wanting a sign to wait for the letters to be finished and he was agreeable as it gave him a good excuse for a few beers.  The lady who wanted her parlor painted was one of the ladies from the Oxen Run area and I settled with her for a date next month to come and do the painting.  She described what she wanted and I drew a design for her, and she left happy.  The four letters were rather lengthy, and by the time I finished with them and the sign it was afternoon again.  Josh and "JJ" were still gone, but I really didn't expect them to get back before dusk.  During these hours, I noticed that the alehouse had a lot of customers and most of them came over to the table and wanted to see what was going on.  I made it clear that I had a long-standing commitment on the other side of the Potomac, and the people were very understanding.  Five more people made appointments for the next time I came to town, and I have started a log book of appointments which was necessary for the promises to convince the customers. I asked the alehouse owner if there was some place that I could park the wagon out of the way for the night.  One of the ladies heard me ask, and volunteered her carriage house.  She said that she had gotten rid of an old sleigh and was in the market for another, but the space was vacant temporarily.  Another lady invited the three of us to supper, which got the attention of the other ladies waiting for their letters to be written.  Three of the other ladies also wanted us to come to their place for something to eat , and one of the husband's suggested a picnic under the trees by the carriage house.  The ladies were in a hurry to leave to prepare something to contribute to the feast, and by the time I had finished the letters, I had kissed the hands of at least eight ladies and shook hands with ten men.  When I finished the sign the owner of the alehouse came over and thanked me heartily.  He said that he hadn't had that much business in one afternoon since the last fourth of July.  He invited us to return and plan to use his place to set up whenever we came to town.  I have really been surprised at the hospitality of these people, and I suspect that more could be done in this way if it were done right. I was sitting on the front porch in a old rattan chair having another sasperilla with the alehouse owner, while he told me about the heavy rains that scoured the town last winter, and he mentioned that the bridge had stood up very well to the floodwaters in Piscatawny Creek.  This I was glad to hear.  We talked about the area around the village and it was clear that he was quite proud that the village had grown in the last ten years.  He spoke about the political situation and then about the Cook's Ferry and how that got started.  Just then, I saw the wagon with Josh and "JJ" roll into town.  Looks like it's time to park the wagon and head out for the lady's feast!!  I thanked the alehouse owner for the use of his dining room and he thanked me in turn for all the business that he credited us with bringing him!  Much mutual admiration!!

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