I’ve been trying to diet. Really, I have. I managed to eat a light lunch on Monday, but then Tuesday Glynda called and wanted me to meet her at Bacon Brothers. Wednesday Mark and I had lunch at The Junction, a buffet in Gowansville. I planned to go light for lunch on Thursday. That is, until I got a call from my brother, Stephen.
Stephen had made two reservations to attend a lunch and learn meeting at the Upcountry History Museum, and wanted to know if I could join him. Of course! The program was supposed to be about the “Scotch Irish” [sic] in the Upstate, and since that’s our genealogical background, Stephen thought it would be interesting.
We arrived at the appointed time and made our way up to the meeting room. The place was already packed, so we grabbed our box lunches of Chick-Fil-A and managed to find two seats toward the back.
Right away we noticed something amiss. The place was filled with young kids who should have been in school. They looked like they were either second or third grade. From my many years as an elementary teacher I’m pretty good about placing them. The question was, what were they doing here? Were they part of a homeschool coop? Given the number of them, we began to worry a bit.
…and we were right to worry. When the lecture got underway it was clearly geared toward the younger kids. I pulled out my tablet and checked the advertisement on the museum’s website. There was nothing in the ad that said that this was geared toward young kids. From what we could read, it was supposed to be an adult lecture.
Stephen and I really couldn’t take the condescending tone, nor the someone inappropriate racial questions posed by the two women giving the lecture. After about ten minutes our own Scotch Irish stubbornness took over, and we slipped out. Stephen had never really been to the museum, so we spent some time walking through the exhibits. When we got back to the front we voiced our dismay to the lady tending the front counter. She said that it WAS supposed to be an adult lecture, and that these were public school students.
That makes this even more problematic. Public schools don’t let kids take off on a field trip to the museum without an enormous amount of planning. There are permission slips for parents to sign, lesson plans that have to incorporate objectives for the visit, etc., etc. It didn’t just happen that these kids were there. Oh well, I guess there was a huge communication breakdown. However, it does cast doubts on any of their future lectures.
Stephen had some time before his next appointment, and we were wondering what to do next. Since we were this close, and since he had never been there before, I suggested a trip to Shinola Antiques. We headed that way.
At first Stephen didn’t know how you were supposed to enter. He wasn’t even sure if this was a legitimate place of business. I assured him it was and pointed him in the right direction.
After coping with the claustrophobia and sensory overload, the cameras came out. Stephen had his iPhone, but this time I had my Panasonic. The amount of stuff was still staggering.
I wondered how they would ever extract anything, should it sell. Even so, there were two women there who were making purchases. One pointed out the quality of the “junk” as we walked around. However, the odor of decay and mildew was even more pronounced today. I pointed Stephen in the direction of “Ben’s Garden.” I’m not sure he was prepared for the experience.
It was just as bizarre and overwhelming as my last visit. However, there were some differences. First, the roosters were all locked away, rather than having free roam of the garden. Secondly, things looked like they had been rearrange a bit. There was still an amazing number of creepy doll parts.
These seemed like they were in different places. I don’t know. Maybe Ben comes out here in his spare time and rearranges them.
There was the usual clutter, but we also found a noseless Jesus and a bathtub full of bowling balls. Sounds like the title for a bad Southern Gothic novel.
Once again, it was overwhelming, and before long we had to leave. I took many, many more photos this time. Here’s a slide show, if you can stand it…
We felt the need for rejuvenation after our visit, so we popped around the corner to the Universal Joint, and bar/restaurant in a converted gas station next to the old Handlebar. We had a couple of beers and chips to wash away the Scotch Irish and creepy dolls.