To keep me distracted from the loss of Edison, Rocco suggested we try to find the local potter one more time. We’d found a flyer at one of the other shops and now had a much more detailed map. Sitting at an intersection, I noticed a large sign and started giggling. “Don’t move,” I instructed. “I’m going to need a photo of that.”
“Too bad we won’t be here for the stuffed cabbage cook off,” Rocco sighed.
“Dude! There’s a MEAT RAFFLE on the 13th. Can we come back? I mean how the hell does that work? Is it some sort of weird mountain dating game or do the really raffle off a side of beef?”
“What about the pottery?” Rocco tried to change the subject. Fortunately that almost always works on me.
“Oh yeah! Why are we still sitting at this intersection?”
As the sun started to set, I struggled to read the directions in the flyer. “What road am I looking for now?” Rocco asked.
“Um, you’re looking for a blinker.”
I read from the flyer, “From the South, turn right at blinker.” Rocco looked at me with doubt. “For reals!” I quoted again from the flyer. “From North, turn left at blinker. From Rt 447, go straight at blinker.” I dropped the flyer to my lap and looked at the incredulous boy. “I can’t make this shit up.” I lifted the flyer and read a little further. “When coming up the hill, don’t give up, we are ABOVE Robinson Rd.” I looked up at Rocco. “Don’t give up, got it?”
He rolled his eyes and we eventually found both the blinker and the studio. Reece Pottery was all that I dreamed it would be, and more! The shop was housed in an ancient old barn in the middle of nowhere. As we looked about, the artist’s wife Lynda trudged through the lightly falling snow to turn on the lights and heat for us. Fortunately, she was also a Libra so she was incredibly patient with my inability to make decisions. “It’s just all so lovely!” I cooed.
“Oh, let me open the other room for you!” she responded. Interwebz, never ever give a Libra more options. It can’t possibly end well for any of the parties involved.
Rocco couldn’t even make it past the door. “These writings on the back of the door,” he began. “Are they…”
“Original,” Lynda finished. “They date back to the ’30’s. Pretty nifty, eh?”
Meanwhile I was completely overwhelmed by my surroundings. Beautiful original paintings from Tom Reece hung on the aged wooden walls, while magnificent and comical pottery portraits stood atop the pedestals grouped along the edges of the room. The likenesses of the portraits were uncanny. I know, I know – I’m sure that was the point. But I have absosmurfly no idea how he mastered such detail with only mud, sand, and a giant oven!
I saw Abbott and Costello, Seinfeld’s Kramer, Babe Ruth, and Indiana Jones just to name a handful. I was particularly enamored of the Groucho Marx piece. I loved how his baggy pants evolved from the organic hunk of clay at his base. Oh who am I kidding? I loved EVERYTHING about the piece. I know my fellow potters are looking at those tidy pin stripes on the vest and wondering how in the hell he did that.
All the caricatures were well beyond my price range, so after staring at them for only fifteen minutes longer than would be considered an awkward duration, I headed back to the original room and the smaller, more functional pieces. Rocco was useless. Wise to my games, he refused to make a selection on my behalf, or even narrow down my choices. Sure I would have blamed him for years to come when he picked the wrong thing, but then I would have been absolved from all guilt. Really, do I ask so very much?
I had every intention of finding Christmas gifts as I floated amongst the ceramic wares. But did I buy a single gift? No, Interwebz, I did not. And yet I still snagged THREE pieces. I’m a potter, my mother is a potter, and many of my dear friends are potters. Would you believe I already have a pretty hefty collection of clay scattered about my apartment? It’s on the shelves, in the cabinets, under the bed, on the floor of the closet, tucked behind my pile of canvas, and buried in my sock drawer. You can’t move more than three inches in this place without coming into contact with something made of clay. By all means, what I needed most in life was three more pieces.
Oh but we loves them. (Photos below.)
And that just about ends our Poconos Pilgrimage. By the time we got back to the Manor, a light dusting of snow covered the ground. We had one last (and far less traumatic) bath in the ginormous tub to stave off the frostbite on our toes and walked to the Manor House for a ridiculous dinner served on no less than forty-seven doilies.
I had one last quiet morning curled in front of the insta-fireplace. I watched the gently falling snow accumulating in a soft white layer of stripes on the wooden deck. The tiny morsels of ice swirled around the green patina of the street lamp. I was sure the view would be a breathtaking explosion of color during the fall’s changing of the leaves, but that day everything was a muted brown or green. Peering through the sea of now empty branches, I could see Mount Pocono looming in the distance. The translucent haze of the leafless trees lining her top ridge gave the illusion she was surrounded by a soft gray halo. As I heard Rocco stirring, chunky marshmallow like flakes joined the blend of wintry precipitation, obliterating the mountain and her secrets from view.
“Say, Rocco – why did you choose this place anyway?”
He yawned and pulled himself up on his elbows. “Well, after that scan last year when Aloysius announced you were in remission, we went to that French place on 8th Avenue for lunch and a champagne toast. I figured we should stick with the French theme. And when you’re cured, we’ll celebrate in Paris.”
Could ya just die? Well no, not literally. That would TOTALLY defeat the entire point of the trip but you know what I mean.
It’s good to be me. Thanks, bubs. I would totally leave Edward for you. Probably. No, definitely.