There are things in life that are meant to be---things you can't plan, or control, or foresee, and sometimes, those are the best things....
I was a widow when I moved alone from Illinois to New Hampshire 12 years ago. Most of you know the tragic circumstances if you have read this past post.
I had a small open antique shop here at the house for many years. Every year, the first Saturday in December, I would have a 'Colonial Christmas Open House' for the business. I would have the little 18thc. home I had painstakingly restored, open to the public for that one day---not just the shop. I worked for months in advance each year, baking hundreds of Christmas cookies and treats and freezing them. I cut all my own greens, did all my own decorating, and made gallons of homemade wassail that filled a huge iron pot in the main fireplace, and from which the guests helped themselves, ladling the steaming spiced drink into paper cups I had in an old basket on the hearth.
I had period music playing, dozens of candles lit, and I, and the few friends who always volunteered to help me greet guests, write up sales, etc., were dressed in the best but rather lame 18thc. make-shift costumes we could fashion.
No one here had anything like my Colonial Open House, and it became a bit of a local legend, and 'THE' place to go every year.
I always wrote an appealing press release for the open house, and posted copies all over town. I also made trips to local papers, and asked if they would be willing to give me a little space and print them in their 'events' section for free a week before my open house, which they always graciously did.
In December 2004 I had a line of people outside, waiting for me to open the door promptly at 10 AM. There was the usual mad rush, and at least 60 people in here at once, at any given time during the long day.
I saw a man come in wearing very good 18thc. clothing, his cocked hat under his arm. He approached me and politely and quietly said he had seen a write-up in the paper about my Colonial Christmastide Open House, and knew he had to come. He said he hoped I didn't mind that he came in 18th century attire.
I was swamped with people demanding my attention, and I laughed and welcomed him, and said "I don't mind, but others may think you are the 'help!'" This was because only myself and my 'helpers' were in period-style dress. I had never seen this man before at any of my other open houses. I bade him make himself at home, look around, and help himself to as much as he wanted to eat---I made so many dips, cookies, 'sweetmeats', etc., that the long table was always piled high with all manner of treats for this event.
As I ran around all day talking to people, changing cd's, re-filling platters of food, and helping with sales, I noticed that the gentle man in the lovely 18thc clothing was chatting up a storm with everyone, and popping treats into his mouth. He seemed to be having a grand time, and I was pleased. He stayed until I closed up at 5 PM, and was the last to leave. I cheerfully thanked him for coming, and said I hoped he had enjoyed the day.
A year went by...
I never saw the man in 18thc. dress during that time, nor knew his full name...
In November of 2005, I was again in the mad rush of pulling everything together for the annual Colonial Open House. The day arrived, and so did my loyal and helpful friends. Before the 10 AM opening, lo and behold here came the man from the year before, again dressed in 18th century finery!
He introduced himself as Adam Spencer, and said that if I did not mind, he had come to HELP for the entire day. I was delighted. He seemed so affable and interested. I knew everyone would admire him and his clothing, and enjoy talking to him. I welcomed him in and thanked him.
The open house was again a madhouse, and a great success. At 5 all my friend-helpers left and so did Adam, taking his leave with a smile, and profuse thanks. He had certainly helped, but I was also glad he had had a nice time.
I had only seen Adam twice. Once at this open house, and at the one the year before.
About a week later, Adam came to my shop on a regular day I was open. I wondered what he was doing there, out of the blue. He did purchase a cd of Christmas music, and then asked about the paid hearth suppers I cooked in costume, in my home, for private groups. He said he would like to hire me to make one for him. Now normally I only cooked my hearth dinners for a minimum of 6 people, and I did not have the heart to tell him this.
It was days and days of work to do a meal for a party. I was broke and desperately needed the $50. profit, so I told him I would be happy to do the dinner for him. I was very businesslike as usual, and we went over a menu. He said he would like me to sit down and eat with him. That was not too unusual, and we set the date he wanted, about 2 weeks hence.
The period fireplace-cooked meal was wonderful if I do say so, and he seemed very pleased. He was in awe over every little thing in the house, and we talked about history and his reenacting for several hours. I was polite but formal feeling this was business after all. The evening went well, and I felt he had had a nice time. I was tired but proud of all the work I had done, and happy that my client was pleased. I went to start cleaning up the dishes and pots, and put it out of my mind---another job well done...
About a week later, it was a snowy Sunday morning. I was just about to get moving, put the flags out, and open the shop, when there was a knock at the door. I guessed it was someone who didn't realize I opened at noon on Sunday, and decided to let them in early as I had nothing better to do.
I looked like a rag doll in sweats, no make-up, and a polar fleece top.
I opened the door and was quite shocked to see Adam, dressed in his very best 18thc. outfit, and holding an armful of grocery store flowers (all he could find on a Sunday morning in the country, I later learned.)
I had a momentary flash of wondering what he was doing here, and didn't even have a second to react. I still remember every word he said to me as I stood there, hair sticking out all over, mouth probably open.
He looked at me. He seemed very nervous, and he stammered. He proffered me the flowers and said:
"I want to court you in 18th century style and I don't care how long it takes."---
Those were his exact words. I will never forget them.
Much later, when we would talk and remember that time, he told me that he was "love struck" when he came to my Colonial Christmas open house the second time, and watched me as I danced around the dining room demonstrating some 18thc. dance steps for the guests.
Love really can find you, and walk right in your door...
And the rest, my dear friends...
|Read PART ONE of 'OUR 18THC. WEDDING' HERE~|