Sunday, June 12, 2011

Maine in June: The Big Chicken Barn

In Ellsworth, the last town before Mount Desert Island, we stopped in the Big Chicken Barn. The Big Chicken Barn is Big; the first floor is crammed with affordable antiques and vintage objets, while the second floor is filled with 150,000 used books. Last August, I found a beautiful old transferware bowl, but this time I wasn't so lucky. Instead, I encountered a series of unsettling characters. Allow me to introduce them:

Here's Agatha, a pop-eyed, bleached-blonde, Colonial babe from the Uneeda Doll Company. Nobody wanted to play with Agatha when she was new, back in the '60s or '70s. Nobody wants to play with Agatha now. And nobody wanted to play with her in any of the decades in between. For good reason.

I don't know how you'll react to Soccer Dog, but he gives me shivers and simultaneously fills me with wonder: Who thought of making a figurine of a dog kicking a soccer ball? Why? And why didn't anyone intervene? Why didn't the kiln explode? And who bought this? How long was it proudly displayed in someone's house until the antique dealer came along? And why does Soccer Dog continue to survive?  There are no answers; there is only Soccer Dog. Why? Why? Why?

Are you ever in one of those dull, English-novel-type moods where you decide, "Maybe a cup of tea will cheer me up?" If so, don't reach for this teapot. This is the grumpiest, most depressing teapot I've ever seen — and that was before I noticed her cane. This pot must have been used exclusively for steeping teas of bitter herbs and rue (or the stale Salada favored by my Irish grandmother). Maybe it was only brought out to frighten away unwanted guests at the tea table. From the appalled, worried expression on the teapot's face, you might assume that she was stuck sharing a shelf with Soccer Dog for decades. And this is her happy expression.

I'm not sure what scares me more in this group: the three crazy-eyed Santas, who all look like criminals in disguise, or the anemic choirboys — especially the one who lost his eyes. What are those those weird, bright-red splatters at their necks? Are they zombie choirboys? And what's up with that jaundiced elf in the background? None of these guys will be brightening my Christmas.

After all those creepy Christmas ornaments, I was tempted to buy this tiny cat, the least threatening creature in the Big Chicken Barn. But I left him there to calm down all the frightened children.

1 comment:

  1. EEEK! My mother had a mantle-ful of those bloody choir boy candles.

    These pics will be good for a couple of nightmares and scary stories!

    Were there any treasures among the books?

    Enjoy your vay-kay!


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