Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cothren Thoughts or Grandfather Stories - by Tim MacSweeney

“Histories, like Cothren’s,” the archeologist said to me, “Are what we call “Grandfather Stories – they may or may not be true.” He stirred his coffee and went on to tell me about empirical evidence, excavation of mounds with no bones inside them, and about repeated patterns being the basis of Archeology.

Later I drove back to my barn, past stone fences of several different styles – or patterns – to my furniture restoration shop where I was trying to recreate some pieces of missing carvings that decorated a chair back.

Looking out across the floodplain, across the overgrown field and the river and yet another field beyond that, I could see the apple blossoms of that orchard Cothren mentions, the big isolated hemlock that shouldn’t really be there, big and as old as some of the hemlocks that shade the Falls up on the hillside above the orchard.

That was just about 15 years ago, here in this section of town still known by it’s Indian name. I’ve lived here for over 25 years now, watching the sun rise over that hill that the Grandfather Stories say was once the “Nonnewaug Wigwams.”

I’m a Grandfather now too, so I guess it’s about time to tell the story…

35 years ago a friend brought me up to the falls for the first time. Big metal posts for big huge power lines were lying on their sides looking a lot like missiles or spacecraft. We walked from the field to the shade of the hemlocks and looked down to see cows in the pool of the upper Falls, the black and white sort of reminding us of nuns. I read the plaque set into the stone. It said:

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