Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 18

               The olde greenhouse


Our 6th hangout spot was a hollow foundation to a pre-civil war house
built in 1853 and destroyed by fire in 1897. As we walked down sixteen
cracked and crumbling concrete steps, I noticed an inconsequential
amount of aggregate had been set in the mix to strengthen it. These
steps would take us to the far reaches of the cellar where the humidity
seemed to peak. The four remaining steps had plant life growing out of
them, yet they had not come apart. They were still as sturdy as ever.



“How do you make this much mortar without a concrete mixer and even then,
how do you get it all back here? asked Peter full of latent enthusiasm, while
looking for a place to sit in the boscage. I responded by saying, a hundred and
fifty years ago you didn't have any trucks, and you couldn't use a stagecoach
cause there were no roads yet. “Then how did they get it back here, he asked
bemused? They put the satchels on horses and rode them in. How many
horses? “Hundreds. . . And before that they used Bulldogs.” Suddenly, Peter
begins laughing aloud! “I gotta hand it to you; you really got me with that one!



Whenever we got high, we joked around a lot, and part of joking around usually
entailed the art of prefabricating complete nonsense. This we would do to try
and fool the other person, but mostly we did it for kicks. Indeed, John was
the
reigning champ at this, but I was quickly gaining ground over him!

That's just a crazy little part of the way things were back then. Everyone was carefree.
Now everyone has their own worries, jobs to go to, and never ending bills to pay.

I can almost see it beginning to take shape in my mind. Four hundred Bulldogs
all over Staten Island lumbering around with bags of masonry powder draped
across their backs! Hoe-Lee Christ! I can see them coming now, trudging
through the woods with faces of despair!!! With that he fell to the ground in
hysterics and began pounding his fists into the soft soil! I can't handle it man,
he said, as tears came streaming down his cheek. Such long faces!!!

“In all actuality, they are one of the few creatures on earth that actually
appear to look sadder when the sun is shining! Picture if you woke up
one morning looking like that. . . You'd wanna stay inside too!!!”

                                                               Pg 88
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After the laughter subsided, we looked around and saw how everything had
taken form. In a mellow kind of way, it felt like we were in a large terrarium.
One without a top! At least five degrees warmer was it down here than up there,
but felt like ten, where it exhibited a semitropical atmosphere. As I gazed about
to find a world encased around me, I imagined I was in the jungles of Vietnam,
long after the war had ended! We made our way through a labyrinth of small
trees that had grown upwards toward the center, and were now looking at bushes
that had accumulated around the corners. Not one thorn in here, thank God! 




Wouldn't it be cool right now to see a tree carving from the eighteen hundreds,
asked peter blithely? That would flip me out! “I know right; that would really
be something. A tree carving from that period of time would have to be at least a
foot into the tree by now. Eighty some-odd rings of bark is no whittle!” (We
laugh.) “Any carving, regardless of how deep it was would certainly be gone by
now. But you must never fail to remember that whatever is carved onto a tree
remains on that tree, kind of like a scar. No matter how faint it appears to one's
eye, it will always be there. If we had a TF-1 we could find it.” What's a TF-1?

“A TF-1 is a device with the small screen that allows one to see how old a tree is
by counting how many rings it has. The deluxe model comes equipt with a fine
tuning knob that allows you to see in black and white, what lies hidden beneath
the trees surface. A two dimensional image that reads very much like an x-ray.
Meaning that anything which has ever been inscribed onto its surface would now
be made visible.” Where the hell do you get one of those? You could probably
find one in The Twilight Zone under things entitled, what you need!” Don't tell
me just made that up, said Peter quite stunned. That was very convincing.


I then motioned toward the rear of the building where the remains of an old pot
belly stove was lying. I pulled it to its feet, but could not find the top half. It
looked ridiculous standing up like that, so I laid it back down on its side again.
Peter was busy examining the wall on the other side of the cellar, and so I used
my hands to part the trees in this wayward jungle. He then spotted something
lying in the weeds and bent over to pick it up. Hey Charles, take a look at this.

He then handed me a deteriorated catcher's mitt that had been left by someone
a very long time ago, and for a second I honestly wondered if the person who
left it there ever became a famous ball player! The lacing had all but withered
away and was black. My God, this thing is ancient. If I had to guess, I would
say it has to be from the thirties or forties! That old glove which had been
placed upon a three foot cluster of lateritious bricks from a fallen chimney,
and discarded in another time by a passerby was now under scrutiny.




                                                               Pg 89
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Looking at the partially calcified mass of white pimpled bumps on a sticky layer
of green virescent leather, I was repulsed! Even nature in all its beauty has the
uncanny ability to break down over time, and when it does, it is not a pretty
sight. What I saw was simply spores of mold growing on its decaying fabric.
I had attributed this to the fact that anything green, touching anything at all for a
prolonged period of time would eventually begin to impart some of its own color
unto that object. Of course, I was only speculating as to this strange new theory.


I then started to think of that old catcher's mitt and how wonderful it must have
looked in the store when it was brand new. How it smelled and felt, and how it
held up next to all the other gloves and machine autographed George "Snuffy"
Stirnwiess bats! Go you damn Yankees, I screamed aloud in my head with the
crowd of that era cheering! Like baseball cards themselves, it was the pride
of its day to every young boy growing up in the heart of North America!

Unfettered by time, free to live and dream without caring! Why was everything
better back then, than it is now? Even further back to his father before him.
Free to craft heroes from a ten cent novel, found at the local five & dime.  



Free to build hopes upon wishes was the adventurous heart! So chivalrous and
true were those authors who made sure never to raise even the mildest blemish
upon the tender skin of the fair maiden, who I could now see riding off into the
sunset with her rescuer. The one who fought for her glory! To you sir, I remove
my hat and bow, but you and that young boy have withered away.

To become as fertilizer for the earth.
Salt to the sea; a better place perhaps.
*One that beckons for my entrance*

That dinner, I am soon to attend. There is a particular area in our cord-like
brains which allows imagination to fester, and at that precise moment in
time, it must have been lighting up like an early Thomas Edison light bulb! 



These stories are best suited for dreaming as I know all too well,
the only thing that becomes
of dreams are tears, and the only
thing tears are good for are to satisfy one's ailing conscience.


As Peter began petting a ladybug which had landed on his shoulder, a bead
of sweat rolled down the side of my face and neck. Feeling a wee bit restless,
I decided to take my little Case knife and whittle my initials into one of the
smoother trees. I began carving them directly above a faded World War II
medal someone had nailed into the tree years before. Pete seeing this said,
I wanna throw mine on there too. As I finished, Peter would carve his
initials under the war god's helmet. After muddling around for twenty or so
minutes, we walked back up the cracked and broken stairs to the awaiting
trail. We then followed that trail, while listening to the peaceful sound of birds
chirping and insects buzzing until we reached our 7th little place of refuge.

                                                            The Esquires - I still love you

                                                               Pg 90

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Reviews for chapter 1
8

Michael Howard - "the partially calcified mass of white pimpled bumps on a sticky layer of virescent leather"
I don't even know what the hell I'm reading and I love it!

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PG 88) The Oligocene Gardens by Jacek Yerka - http://www.yerkaland.com/

PG 88) Bull-dogs by Charles Burton Barber (circa 1881)

PG 89) Summer in a city
by Jacek Yerka - http://www.yerkaland.com/

PG 89) The Sargass sea bishop
by Jacek Yerka - http://www.yerkaland.com/

PG 90) The five and dime store, circa 1930's -
http://tinyurl.com/lb6l8uv

PG 90) Thomas Edison long style (replica) -
http://tinyurl.com/y8fdboc