In her novel The Thirteenth Tale, author Diane Setterfield, aptly suggests there is a comfort in "the rocking sweet safety of a lie." While drafting the advertisement for the Silver and Pottery Peddler's Cart, I could not help but think about the meaning beneath this concept. Once, during my early tenure in the cavern I was asked not to use her quote as a byline. The owners of the rooming house where I lodged, argued that lies were dangerous, without merit, and should not be circulated EVER! I removed the byline the next day. After all I liked my landlords, for reasons other than the lies they told, and I needed a place to stay away from the busy Cavern Communication Network (CCN).
Coward then. Yellow streak now. Nevertheless, I continue to say there are lie levels, and I am not adverse to using lies to make a point. The lie that is a tale that creates and develops a truth is a lie with merit. In turn, a truth that is disguised in the story as lie is also useful. The truth is more widely accepted in story. That is why I tell them, the lies, the stories and the truth.
The peddler's cart is a good example of a rocking sweet safe place to bring out the truth. It is a lie - a light of day lie. It is found, and cannot be returned to the garage. In my book an outed lie, divulged in story form, and mixed in with the soup of historical fact is the best kind of story to tell. How much history gets in the way of moving the story forward is a complex process. Good writers know just how much salt or sugar to add and when.
A person who can bake a loaf of rising bread: a combination of a living yeast, sugar, flour and oil knows how to tell a good lie. Persons who cannot make dough puff will make do with with "just the facts" adjudicated with their own bias. There is little wrong with bias - a bit boring, and there is so little learning that comes with it.
In its entirety; therefore, I include the text of the advertisement for the Silver and Pottery Peddler's cart.
Good Day and Thank You for purchasing an authentic replica of the Sterling and Pottery Peddler’s cart, circa July, 1903.
Ruby O’Degee Glenfadden happened on to the peddler’s cart, when she plundered through her garage to find a vacuum tube calibrator and clock apparatus. She continues to hunt for this apparatus. Anyone knowing of its whereabouts should contact the Midtown Ladies Guild Artifact Acquisition Company, Poohkeepsietomeway, NY. No need for a street address. The Museum is well regarded and known to the postal and police department of Poohkeesietomeway, NY.
The Sterling and Pottery Peddler’s cart is another story. Apparently the cart belonged to Mr. Malcolm McMaerNie who once said that his family tree was filled with horse thieves, missionaries and a silver tinker. He was the silver tinker.
Travelling from place to place near his home town in Turow, Nova Scotia meant meeting up with all sorts, good, bad and indifferent. There continues to be indifferent cultures, which live in that area. Ruby made the journey there a few years back to look for her family plot. She found it. Her family name showed up on many of the tombstones. Throughout the village there were signs emblazoned with her family name. Two in-town streets were named after family members. She did not find a one living family member. Likely, the family hid from her.
Usually Ruby does not come across family artifacts or belongings. Her work involves collecting stranger’s legacies. This makes the peddler’s cart special, but it is not known whether the cart is magical. It would need to be magical to turn Ruby into a gabby salesperson like Mr. Malcolm McMaerNie. Ruby is gabby, but not about selling tin pots and pans disguised as silver. She is gabby about stories.
Mr. McMaerNie told a few humdingers (truth disguised as stories) in his lifetime. He swore, for example that he was akin to a chief White House Curator. The curator worked at the White House for nearly 20 years. That is a lot of presidents, and a bunch of state (or personal) secrets.
Mr. McMaerNie also told a tall tale about his mother-in-law, a bootlegger who owned a speakeasy in Detroit. The bootlegger later married a cop. Finally, there was Mr. McMaerNie’s story about a child who arrived at his home during the great depression. The child was 3. When Mr. McMaerNie's father asked the child where he came from, the child pointed west. When Mr. McMaerNie’s father asked the child his name, the child said, “Jack”. The child grew up with the name Jack West, and he lived on McMaerNie’s family farm until he was 90, no further questions asked.
The Sterling and Pottery Peddler cart comes as is. Its boards, like its owner, are not quite fit. A warm, and slightly stale Blue Ribbon ale got spilled across the seat. The stain cannot be removed. The torn canvas cover is not at all a canvas cover. The torn spread was taken from the bed of the man who shared in the begetting a son and the son’s five children, who were not known to the remaining McMaerNie family tree until recently (summer 2010).
Wear Me Instructions for use with your own large horse:
First wear horse. Then wear the peddler’s cart. It will attach to the knee. If you would like to sleep in your cart or display it during story telling events, simply rezz the non-wearable from the trunk that came with the peddler’s wagon. The cart you rezz is physical. It can be moved, but not easily. Neither could Mr. Malcolm McMaerNie, the wagon’s owner. He still sits in the driver’s seat.
This artifact, a silver tinker’s peddler’s wagon is carbon dated July, 1903. Authentication confirmed on this day, August 1, 2010 by the Midtown Museum Ladies Artifact Carbon Dating Company. All rights reserved.
Former Midtown Museum Curator
Owner, South Steamlands Tours & Discoveries
Ruby O’Degee Glenfadden