Friday, April 15, 2011


In an effort to entice the warmth of the day and the fragrance of spring into the trading post, I had just propped open the Kokopelli doors. A moment later, acting as though they were on a discovery mission, two elderly women strode across the threshold and into the building. Both white haired women looked to be on the far side of 70. One was plastered in polyester and wore a multicolored, hand-hooked, acrylic afghan poncho on her broad shoulders. She was the one who was just about to tick me off! The other woman wore an off-white, ribbed, long sleeved, knit top and 501 Levi's. The encounter began well, the women were quite complimentary of our inventory and mentioned how effective our displays were at presenting the art. I thanked them for the kudos and credited Priscilla with arranging the cases. The women smiled pleasantly and wandered to the southwest corner of the store. That is when relations began to sour.

Navajo Natural Kingman Turquoise Quash Blossom Set by Allison Snowhawk Lee (#145)

Something I have noticed about people who begin to loose their physical senses is that they tend to exaggerate the loss. For instance, when I struggle to see well I look longer and harder at people or things in order to get a better, clearer, more complete picture. This gets me a punch in the eye from time to time, but hey, such is life! Another example is that when people begin to lose their hearing they compensate by speaking louder. This was the case with the serape-shrouded sister. As she approached the far counter, she began whispering to her companion how our products were over-priced, the stones were not natural, the quality of workmanship substandard, etc., etc., etc. Her whisper was more than a little perceptible, and my blood pressure was beginning to rise. The other woman, whose back was to me, hunched her shoulders and tried to withdraw within herself. She was excruciatingly aware her companion's tone was clearly audible.

Don't get me wrong, I am not shy about asking why and how questions myself, that is the way I learn and grow. The trick, however, is to be open and interested enough to hear and recognize the truth when you hear it. Some of us gain a little knowledge and experience and figure that is all there is to it; we risk spreading false witness. Craig, Steve and I make every effort to bring high quality Native American Indian art into the trading post. In fact, we are obsessive about it. Together we have about 100 years experience on the subject and continue to educate ourselves daily.

I am not saying we know it all, but I guessed we knew a whole lot more about turquoise, silver, wool and sumac than that old girl. Emphasizing the word "stuff," I walked over and asked, "Where did you learn so much about this stuff?" The woman must have realized she had been overheard, because I could see the realization in her eyes. She could, most likely, hear irritation in my voice. She looked at me closely, made up her mind, expanded like a Puffer fish and said, "I spent two years in Gallup, New Mexico and learned all about it." "That explains it," I said. What irritates me most, is when people who have only a rudimentary knowledge about a complicated subject openly spout off and criticize, sharing their ignorance.

The woman gave me a harsh look, her steel-blue eyes bored into mine and she thrust her jaw out in defiance. She was not about to back down. I was looking back at her, giving her the stink-eye for insulting my inventory and taking it as a personal affront. Several caustic comments and rude remarks came into my head, but fortunately I held them in check. The woman's friend could see I was upset, and was trying to become invisible. I had to give her credit, she was embarrassed, but had not deserted her friend. As we stared across the counter at each other, an image of my dear departed grandmother came to mind. Unlike this contrary cuss, Grandma Correia was a sweetheart, always joking, laughing and being altogether nice. "This woman is surely someone's Grandmother," I thought.

I sighed and looked sadly at the woman, embarrassed at being drawn into a no-win situation, and picking on Grandma Audacious. The old girl had really "cranked" me. Her friend was walking her to the door, hoping to get out without a full-fledged battle. Just before they crossed the threshold I lost my restraint one last time and said; "You're wrong ya' know." "No I'm not!" she whispered to her friend as they hustled down the porch steps.

With warm regards,
Barry, Steve and The Team

Great New Items! This week's selection of Native American art!

Our TnT's purchased new treasures! Check out Traders in Training!

Enjoy artwork from our many collector friends in Living with the Art!

No comments: