Friday, August 12, 2011

Just Use It

As a young man of the 1970s, I well remember the custom vans of that era. Likely an outgrowth of the 1960s VW microbus craze, these elaborately painted, wildly windowed and chrome wheeled vehicles captured my attention, and my desire. It was likely Sammy Johns’ song entitled Chevy Van, however, that sealed my fate; one day I would have one of my own.

1936 Chevy

Well, the 1970s came and went, as did the country’s taste for those beautiful, boxy automobiles, but my hunger for the custom cruisers never abated. And so, when 2005 rolled around and my cousin from Grand Junction came to visit Twin Rocks Trading Post I was still thinking of the ‘70s. Since Tye is a builder of antique autos, our conversation naturally gravitated towards old cars. “I have always wanted a classic van,” I told him. He shook his head knowingly, sympathetically. He obviously knew more than he was letting on.

A few weeks later, a copy of Hemmings Motor News arrived in the mail, courtesy of my cousin. Splashed across the front was a photograph of three 1936 sedan deliverys; a Dodge, a Ford and a Chevy. Although they were not at all what I originally had in mind, I picked up the telephone and informed Tye that was exactly what I wanted. “Good,” he said, “I know where there is a Chevy just like the one on the cover.” I found myself committed before I knew what was happening, so a month later Jana, Kira, Grange and I went to Grand Junction to view the prospect.

Having had his eye on the car for a long while, Tye assured me he knew exactly what to do with it. So, I took a leap of faith, bought the van and set Tye to work. Six years later the car is in the final stages of its reincarnation.

Now that it is getting close to completion, I have begun fretting about what to do with this vehicular work of art when it is finally delivered. Consequently, I called Tye to express my concerns. “I can’t drive it,” I said, thinking about how I would feel if it became scratched or dented. Taking a cue from the folks at Nike, Tye said, “Just use it. It’s a car, it’s meant to be driven.”

“Humm,” I thought, having never considered that it really is just an automobile, and recognizing that, when it comes to Navajo rugs, that is the advice we give people who visit the trading post.

Barry and I often chuckle at the visitors who come into the store and walk around the rugs we have scattered about the floor. We see them tiptoe past, cautiously circumnavigate and even jump over these handmade beauties. Echoing my comment to Tye, they say, “We are afraid to walk on them.” “Nuts,” we say, assuring them the rugs are made to be used, and that in all likelihood they will outlive us all. We note that we believe the weavings give the trading post a lot of character and that we love having them on the floor.

At the old Jens Nielson House and Mill, which is located just around the corner from Twin Rocks and is also where the Simpson family lived during my whelpage, I vividly remember Duke and Rose having Navajo rugs three deep on the floors. Back then nobody gave a second thought to walking on them. Those weavings seemed strong as iron, and made for an extremely colorful and comfortable home. So, when that old van finally arrives in Bluff, I will get myself a Sammy Johns tape, throw a Navajo rug in the back and “Just use it!”

With warm regards,
Steve, Barry and The Team

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

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

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