Her name was Dot; she is no longer with us I was told. She use to serve drinks at The Cedar Inn, I would image a beer and a shot was the norm. From what I have heard about the place she must have been tough, so tough that one evening she humiliated a gentleman to the point were he just could not take a minute more. He paid is tab got up from his stool and went out the front door where he sat on the step and pulled a gun and put it to his head and ended it all. Yes she was tough along with everyone that dared to step into The Cedar Inn. A log building built in 1945 with one bathroom big enough for one window and room to stand and maybe sit depending on your size. A hole in the bottom door panel still remains as a reminder of the night a jealous husband kicked it in to find his wife with her lover. Story after story of cheating wives and cheating husbands, fistfights, knife fights and murder and more than just one. They may be just stories who’s is to say, unless you where there, who’s to say what is the truth and what is just a Story.
Now the building just sits not much different than it was back then. All the windows are the same; the doors are all there, even the small make-up mirror on the windowsill in the bathroom looks as though it has not been touched. The bar is gone, the steel beer cans piled up in the back have now returned to the earth as rust. The husbands and wives have all moved on, the fighting has stopped, no more gun shots can be heard no more screams for help. All has been replace with treasures and junk with most of it being the same.
I med chuck one Saturday afternoon; it was the sign out front “open for pickin” that caught my eye. I am a sucker for rust, I love to find that one thing from the past that I don’t really need but I must have. The front door was propped open letting the smell of mold and mildew mix with the fresh spring air. Almost with hesitance I stepped inside. Dark and lit with lamps here and there it was like walking into a tomb. Junk, collectables, antiques and just stuff stacked everywhere. Nothing was in order, everything was in piles, and the place was a mess. From the minute my feet hit the worn wood floor Chuck began to tell the stories. It started with old magazines, vintage radios and baseball mitts. I heard about old shotguns and images taken with old cameras. There were rusted kitchen tools, and matchbox cars, vinyl records and old military uniforms. Then came the stories of murder, betrayal and bigotry. I asked Chuck three times if the place was haunted but he would always answer with another story and never the answer I was hoping for. I found an old radio, a camera from my past and a baseball mitt for Rbauer but I wanted more and Chuck promised me just that.
A mile up the road was where he lived and if I thought this place was cool well I had to go see. From the road and over the gate it was overwhelming again stuff everywhere. Old cars church buses and campers all stuffed with more stuff. A van filled with golf clubs and shed filled with tackle boxes stuffed with lures. Goats, chickens and roosters filled the yard and slept on the porch. All of them I was told are pets.
I met Rodney; he sleeps in one of the campers surrounded by plants and an old claw foot bathtub that has now become his herb garden. Chuck tells me he is the son of an old girlfriend and has been there for years. He helps out and cares for all the animals including the two baby ducks that he was holding in his hands when we met. Pathways that were more like tunnels led you through the house. Don’t get me wrong nothing was dirty, there was no garbage just stuff, stuff from the past, stuff everywhere. I had to feel that there was an issue here of a habit of collecting that has now turned into an issue of hoarding all motivated by an issue of money. No matter what you picked up Chuck had a price and most times his price was right on with its value.
He told me he needs to start getting rid of things; he needs to start putting more money back into the bank. I really did not need to bring anything more home but again I just had to have it. A Robert Browning book of poetry along with a few vintage jelly jars sat next to my new radio. I had to have a 1929 issue of National Geographic along with a mason jar from the 1920’s with a very cool art deco design. Yes I had to have it they need to come home with me. As I was leaving Chuck asked if I was going to resell my newfound treasures? With a grin I responded “no I am going to go home pour myself a bourbon in my new jelly jar and listen to WSM on my new radio and read some poetry”. One mans junk is another mans treasure and I will be back to dig for more and yes to listen to a few more stories.