In a Comfy Cottage I Read

 

“I would rather be poor in a cottage full of books than a king without the desire to read”

Or,

“What a blessing it is to love books as I love them; – to be able to converse with the dead, and to live amidst the unreal!”
― Thomas Babington Macaulay

First Baron Macaulay (1800 – 1859), British historian and Whig politician, widely read author of The History of England from the Accession of James II and other works, who sadly had little appreciation of cultures other than his own.

A child prodigy who would become a social historian,  the three year old Thomas, gazed out of the window from his cot at the billowing chimney of a local factory, is said to have asked his father whether the smoke came from the fires of hell.

There are none so blind as those who do not read, excepting those who refuse to see and, just as bad, those who see only what they want.

blue-cottage

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Who, what, and where is Gat Creek?

Is the question, who is Gat Creek, where is Gat Creek, or what is Gat Creek?

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Who is Gat Creek?

The name behind Gat Creek is Gaston Caperton, Gat to his family and friends.

Where is Gat Creek?

Gat’s story is that growing up in West Virginia, he and his family lived in home in a forested valley surrounded by mountains. Like most kids, Gat and his brother spent their days playing along a nearby creek that wound its way through the valley. Being a year older and bigger and taller than his brother, Gat saw the creek first and proclaimed it his by way of conquest. Gat’s brother protested to his parents, who gave into the fatigue of chasing two boys under the age of five, finally relenting in Gat’s favor,

“Okay, it’s Gat’s Creek.”

The name stuck and now appears on maps, along with a road of the same name.

What is Gat Creek?

Almost 30 years later, Gat Caperton fell in love with a local furniture company in Berkley Springs that built antique reproductions using local craftsmen and women as well as Mennonites and Amish workers from Pennsylvania and Ohio. The company was Tom Seely.

Gat was interested both because it was a local West Virginia company and because Gat was in love with the idea of designing furniture. A background in business and finance helped seal the deal.

“I am fascinated by people who buy troubled businesses, then fix them and make them profitable,” Gat would later say.

He bought the company and eventually gave it the name it now proudly carries. Twenty years later, Gat Creek is still American made, using solid wood cherry, maple, and ash. And now sells through a network of 200 national retailers from coast to coast.

One of these retailers is Tradition Home. We are proud to say that we were the first Tom Seely and Gat Creek retailer west of the Mississippi, having earned our spurs working with May and Bud Ledtke at Village Antiques in Vienna, Virginia.

* Footnote

It is interesting to say that during World War II, Tom Seely served with the Flying Tigers in Kunming, China; and Bud Ledtke was a B-17 pilot with the Eighth Air Force flying out of England, where he met his future wife, May, who work alongside General Curtis LeMay.

Gat Caperton is named for his father Gaston Caperton, two time governor of the state of West Virginia. The unusual last name traces its origins back to Lincolnshire, England and before that to the bailiwick of Caux in Normandy, France. It is said that the Caperton family was descended from Le Cappere of Ayncourt (Aincourt), and was granted lands by William the Conqueror, their liege Lord, for their prowess at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Cedar shake shingle two story cottage in Cannon Beach

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea

Had I never wandered, I never would have gone, and sadly I never would have known. Like Marco and his walk down Mulberry Street, there is a lot more out there than meets the eye, there is a lot more to know than what they tell you in the published guide. And if you don’t know Marco, you’ve never really lived (hint, Dr. Seuss).

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea, she sits on the porch of her Cedar shake shingle house, say it fast, say it again, and again, and laugh and laugh as you watch the wind and the waves pound the shore by the sea.

Cedar shake shingle two story cottage in Cannon Beach
Cedar shake shingle two story cottage with two porches in Cannon Beach, Oregon

So we beat on

img_4638 So we beat on, boats against the current, ceaselessly into the past,  so says Nick Carraway recalling Jay Gatsby’s faith in a future that will bring him his dream, Daisy Buchanan and everything she stands for.  We are all Gatsby’s muse, longing for a far away ship that will carry us to our promised land.

The land is not enough, it represents the past or the present. The future is the ship on the vast ocean blue that represents our hopes and dreams.

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Sitting on the porch at day’s end viewing the sun glinting off the ocean, my wife said, This is what vacations in Maine are for, and I replied, completing her thought, absolutely nothing, to sit and Think of things that matter not and mean everything.