Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Cork Sorter

The house, which doubled as a gallery, was well worn. Canvas's and bottles filled the large window
overlooking Main street on the east end of town. The art work had an old school Provincetown feeling and when I walked through the front door I felt like I was traveling through time. The hall lead into a living room filled with canvas's of all sizes. The house was dark and musty in an oddly inviting way and I heard my husband say " Do you think they are open? " A woman's voice responded "We're a little dusty, if you don't mind dust, we're open."

Settled comfortably at an oversized roll top desk behind the front door sat a small, round woman with twinkly eyes and gray hair. She had a box of corks in her lap from all the local restaurants. On the floor,
up against the wall and under the window were hundreds of corks in boxes of all sizes. Next to her tattered old swivel chair sat a tiny wooden table with a large zip lock bag of more corks. She explained the why of all the corks. "I am the sorter of the corks." she said contentedly. "I go through all these corks, separate the good ones and we sell them to buy trees. When you go to the library you will see three new trees, they are cork trees!"

This happy little woman had me at "corks."The more I talked to her the more enchanted I became. Her husband, who sat snoozing in the back room, was the painter. In the kitchen a big tropical bird sat on a perch in it's cage. She told me it was her "best friend." Seventeen years ago they agreed to take care of it for three weeks. The owner never returned. The bird is a great talker and confidante.

She invited us to wander through the house. Alongside her husband sat two dogs and three cats. On the kitchen table there was marmalade, jam, toast and an ancient teapot. She told us they had moved to Provincetown 50 years ago. "A lot has changed since then. There were two teachers and two nurses."
I assumed she meant the other women she was friends with. She held up the baggie of corks and said "These are the corks I cannot part with, some are very rare, some are just too beautiful to part with and some have phone numbers on them to call. Of course I have to call them" she said with an enchanting twinkle in her eye.