A Box of Cigars & a Loom

The museum sells pumpkins, corn stalks, folk art & crafts, mums, cider and more to raise money for projects. Once a week, we drive over to River Styx Cider Mill to pick up cider.

Yesterday I decided to try a different route, and got a bit lost. As I drove down an unfamiliar road, I spotted a house sale sign. Usually I don’t bother with most sales, these days the majority of what people are selling is plastic. But for some reason this sale spoke to me.

I turned around and went back and drove up the very long drive. And fell down the rabbit hole.

Displayed around the driveway’s edge was a wonderful collection of the tools of an earlier age (that some folks call antiques). I choose a really nice clothes iron that opened so you could put hot coals in it, two unusual upright yarn winders, two oil lamps with holders, a Bisselus (later know as Bissel) push carpet sweeper and a box of ancient cigars.

Then we got talking. The family had lived there for quite a while. Mom was now in a care center, and the older adult children were preparing the family home for its next generation. They had spent several weeks clearing out the various out buildings, and I arrived after most things were already gone.

While what they still had was really great, I could only imagine what I had missed. But, as we talked, Karen said that eventually there would be other items available. I told her about the museum, and she decided to take me into the house. Nothing there was presently for sale and it remained how it had always been. (Hopefully they will give us a call when the time comes).

The kitchen is a gem. It contained a beautiful corner cupboard, an old old desk, a very early pie safe, extremely fine baskets hanging from the overhead beams and a wonderful Victorian ceiling lamp. I felt at home.

And then the basement. I nearly fell over. Turns out that mom had worked at Hale Homestead years ago as a weaver (I knew her from when I worked there). She also used to do various shows to demonstrate weaving. …And she collected spinning wheels, looms, bobbin winders, yarn winders, sheep shears, flax breaks and more. The basement was packed. An unknown museum.

The next day I took my whole family back to the sale. Laura immediately fell in love with a portable scarf loom. It’s unlike anything we had. It’s home now and Laura will use it to teach another generation of folks another form of the art of weaving.

I am so happy that I took that wrong turn that day. I learned so much, reacquainted with the life work of a long ago friend and was able to fill some holes in several of the museums collections.

Oh, and the cigars? I found an ancient box of Dutch Masters cigars. They originally sold for just .10 a piece. But old as they are, they still smell wonderful and appear just as smokable as always. They’re a neat addition to the Blaine-Stewart Cigar Shop.

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