I've been to flea markets and thrift shops long enough now to know that on any random day I might see something that was made by someone I know. Over time, I've picked up wooden spoons by a carver who used to do Indian Summer Festival years ago here in Marietta, and my friend, Mary Ann, found a ceramic bowl made by Caroline Koons at Goodwill in Parkersburg, I never, however, expected to see anything I had made anywhere....EVER...
So...here's the story.
Last weekend I went to Rinks to take photographs. I really had no intention of poking around in the vendor area, but I wandered in that direction after I had taken a few photos of rusty old junk on the other side of the parking lot. At the third table I passed, I stopped - amazed and incredulous. Laying on the table in front of me was a beaded necklace with a deer hide pouch I had made years ago when I was making primitive-like jewelry. Before I thought I blurted out, " Wow! That's one of my necklaces! I made that!" I felt like I had just run into an old friend, and I was delighted to see it and run the beads through my fingers.
The man at whose table I was standing stepped up to talk to me. He said he had just gotten it from another vendor for $2.00; however, a weasly-type, Native American wannabe vendor who's a regular at Rink's was insisting to him when I arrived on the scene that it was an old Native American piece. I noted that the "scheister" had a wad-full of cash in his hand, and as I continued to talk to the vendor, this other old codger kept leaning over to whisper in the vendor's ear. I got a strong sense the long-haired greaser, who was decked out in all sorts of necklaces and spirit pouches, was attempting to discredit me every time he could get the seller's attention. Obviously he wanted to by the pouch, and quite honestly, he irked me a bit....more than a bit - a lot!
So I dug my heels in. Attempting to hide my intent, I started talking to Manuel, the vendor, about making the pouches, what I intended them to be on a spiritual level, and what the wrapped sticks in each one signified. The more I talked, the more I could see I was gaining credibility with the baffled seller who suddenly found himself sandwiched between a lady who claimed to be the item's maker and a guy who was hovering over him like a yellow jacket around leftover sweets.
Finally Manuel said he wanted to keep the necklace. I was totally fine with his decision since my intent was not to buy the necklace....Quite honestly, I was trying to stave off the sketchy old geezer who wanted it because I didn't want HIM to have it!! The pouch wouldn't have been happy with the decrepit, emphysematic, self-proclaimed expert in indigenous art.
As I turned to walk away, Manuel said that if he decided to sell it, he'd call me first. Telling me he was an honest man, he promised to give me first chance at purchase if I wanted. That agreed, I left my name and phone number with Manuel and headed back home.
I thought off and on about the necklace all week...about the turbulent period in my life when I was engulfed in making the pouches...about the imbalance I felt in so many ways at that time...about how different my life is now compared to the time when I spent hours in confusion and sorrow as I made piece after piece.... about how totally sychronistic it was that I kept the necklace from falling into the wrong hands..
Yes, Manuel did seem to be honest, and yes, it was fine that he would be its new owner.
Fast forward to a week later.....
Last Saturday evening, I picked up my cell phone to see I had a message. Sure enough, Manuel had called to tell me he would be at Rink's the next day, and he told me that if I wanted to have the necklace, I could buy it for the $2.00 he paid for it. He wanted me to know he was an honest man.....one who kept his word....one who felt stronglly the necklace should return to me.
The next day, I found Manuel in the same spot as the week before. We said a brief hello, and he proceeded to tell me he had also contemplated the necklace, had held it in his hand, had put it around his neck. Yet, he couldn't let go of the thought that it should return to me. Manuel "got it." He listened to the energy of the piece...Indeed, he was a very, very special person.
I am very, very grateful to have this small reminder of my past with me here in the present....I'm sure it came back home to let me know my contemplations of over a decade ago didn't go unheard, for it's true that it has returned to a place that's evolved into the peace and sanity that was so sought after and needed at the time I made the pouch and strung the beads......
Here it is...at The Farm...safe and sound.....