Cindy’s antique store - Fort Macleod
Just passing the parking lot of the Red Coat Inn, there’s an ordinary and austere one-plant building. Nothing would catch your eye while passing by, except for the window view and the sign over the aged wooden entrance door. Inside there’s a lot of old soda bottles, used toys and old-fashioned lamps. Everything is disposed on different levels, set on micro-orders minutely studied by its author. The whole place is crowded with all genre of stuff, but the sensation of clear space persists on account of its high roof and the white paint on the walls. It seems like a warehouse, but definitely one far from the impersonal atmosphere of those buildings used to dismiss our material past. The sign on the door invites the stroller to call by phone if interested in any of the curious objects disposed there, and we decide to make a visit to the place next morning. The building was the first interrogation we found on Fort Macleod and, as such, it must be answered the first.
Next day we began to walk through the place. A strong scent of passed years made us think on the restless course of the time, on polaroid photos and on the people who owned all that wonderful stuff. Were they happy? Why to gave up possessions charged with such a clear halo of meaning? Sitting behind her counter, watching us cautiously and silently, Cindy -owner of the store- pretended to scribble something on a paper. Conscious of her staring, we saluted her and she responded gently, but still serious. Then, while we were checking toys, old signs of stores and gas stations, she started to walk through the thin alleys between stuff-blocks, setting some objects in place and cleaning others. She was curious about us, but finally got back to her counter decided to sit behind it, with nothing else to do than staring at us.
Finally, as a form to cope with the uncomfortable atmosphere, I walked through the allies to the counter with the intention of inquire for the price of a ragged embroidered cloth. As soon as she began to talk I got caught in the beautiful qualities of her voice. It was a little graspy -as if modelled by ages of compilating wisdom, knowledge about life tragedy, about life comedy-, but at the same time warm and tender. She told me the price and nothing more, so I started a series of questions to keep the streaming of her earthly-textured voice going on. She told me that she used to live on the north, and talked about freezing weathers and of the harsh condition of the winter seasons. While she told these stories I saw how a subtle blush started to enliven her cheeks, more reddish as she smiled more openly and confident. In that moment -at the act of reminding and giving new life to past through her words- she was a child and an aged woman in her sixties: a wonderful miracle, worth to see.
The passion for collecting antiques -she told me- were an impetus inherited by her grandson, a kind of family bound with her most closely kin. In my mind I knew -while listening her words- that collecting reminds of the past were her personal way to keep the flow of her blood, her device to avoid the fleeing of a child plentiful vigor from her bones. That powerful strenght is the essence of her person, is the source of her mature tree halo. I’m sure that her kid-disordered smooth hair could be a graceful nest for the Fort Macleod birds, and there would be no cold anymore.
Juan Carlos Montero Vallejo