Well, my lieblings, this is going to be a very interesting week indeed. As in the Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."
The week sort of began in the wee small hours of Sunday morning, when I was wakened and could not go back to sleep. Thus begins a sermon on paying forward -- a "Gods Are Bored" staple.
Where to begin? Ah yes. Startled awake, couldn't go back to sleep, got restless way before dawn, and set out for the beach. (Now that my farm in the mountains is no longer mine, I am trying to bond with the beach. It's only 50 miles away.)
A few months ago, one of my colleagues, who is a zealous and passionate collector of sea glass, showed me the beaches where she gets her best stuff.
If you are a passionate collector of anything found in nature, you understand how reluctant people are to reveal their collecting grounds. I was very, very grateful to this gal, not because I'm going to make it a great quest to find sea glass, but because finding sea glass calms me. The stuff is a great tranquilizer, especially combined with the soft swish of surf on sand.
Back to square one. I drove to the sea glass beach. It's not in a tourist neighborhood. There were some really weird people there, but enough fishermen that I figured I'd be safe.
I started picking up sea glass.
One section of the beach is now a deserted wasteland of bleached oyster and scallop shells, but it used to be a thriving -- and huge -- tourist trap. The business was there from the 1920s until the 1980s. It closed. And instead of auctioning off all the stuff (it had a big restaurant, for one thing), it was just bulldozed straight into the Atlantic. With all its contents.
You can't believe what washes up on that beach. Bathroom tiles, flooring, creamers, mugs, plates, flatware. Mostly in pieces, because, after all, the ocean is a punishing place for ceramics.
There were a few sanderlings on that stretch of beach, and I didn't want to disturb them. Just as I was turning to head back toward my car, I saw, at my feet, a small tan coffee mug buried in pebbles and mud.
On the bottom it said "Inca Ware, Shenango China, New Castle, Pa."
It could only have come from the business that got dozed into the drink.
And it was completely intact. When I washed it, it shone like new.
I searched all the usual online sites, looking for a similar mug. Didn't see one. Couldn't even get a Google image of this particular item. It may have been made specifically for that business, and that business only.
A few hours ago, I handed the mug over to the gal who showed me the beach in the first place. She was tickled pink. She said she had found bits and pieces of that particular kind of ceramic, but never a whole mug. She couldn't believe what good shape it was in.
As happy as she was, I was happier. She showed me a place where I can go to deal with my issues and come home again with a bag full of sand-scoured glass shards. The least I could do was hand over my best "find" to date. It's called "paying forward," and we at "The Gods Are Bored" highly recommend it.
Now, I want all three of you who are reading this to hold me in the light for the next six days. I am about to undergo a test of character unlike any I have ever experienced before. By this time tomorrow, the test will have commenced, and it will not conclude until Sunday, after which I pretty much expect an extended aftermath. Please petition your bored deities to come lend Their strength to mine. Where deities are concerned, no crowd is too large.