Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dolf and Daisy's Front Porch Museum

Dolf and Daisy Dumbleman live seven miles outside of Cloverdale on the Coastal Highway. A passing motorist might comment on the sorry state of their humble cabin. It tilts slightly to the south. The wood is a few months from petrification and there are no visible signs of technology older that the 1860’s. The cabin is surrounded by some of the prettiest countryside on God’s good Earth. Emerald green grass surrounds the rustic ruin. An outhouse with a half moon carved into its door adds that post century feel. A two minute stroll off the front porch brings you to One Hop Creek. Its crystal clear mountain waters are known to heal troubled minds and sooth sore joints.

Dolf and Daisy squatted on this property over fifty years ago. The owner isn’t bothered. He purchased the land as an investment and holds it in a well diversified portfolio. One day the land will be sold. One day Dolf and Daisy will move, but not today. Today is another day to add new and precious finds to their Front Porch Museum.

A visitor to the cabin is greeted by Dolf’s dog Ratbait. Ratbait barks the alarm and begins the never ending process of attempting to break free of his rope and collar. Ratbait charges as fast as his fifteen year old legs will carry him. The barking is cut off in mid syllable with a yelp. Ratbait has reached the end of the rope.

The barking brings either Dolf or Daisy or both to the door. Your identity will be challenged with a “Who is it?”. It really doesn’t matter what you say. They don’t get out much so the devil himself would find a warm welcome. The coldest receptions are reserved for anyone selling door to door and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The warmest receptions are given to anyone inquiring about or bringing a treasure to donate to the museum.

A museum guest has a special chair on the porch. Your backside is cushioned by a twice folded blanket. It is wise not to look too closely. It was scheduled for a good wash back in 1984 but Daisy ran out of detergent. Your back rests against a green, white and black stripped blanket.

Daisy, the ever perfect hostess, serves hot tea in Silver Jubilee mugs adorned with the faces of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The mugs were recovered from Cloverdale’s landfill in 1993 on one of the Dumbleman’s foraging safaris. The honey tea, both drinkable and digestible, is made from the pure water of One Hop Creek.

With drink in hand, Dolf takes the seat to your left and begins the guided tour of what he considers the most interesting items in his collection that exemplify the human condition. You’ll hear the story of the old washing board with a two roller ringer. You’ll marvel at the couple’s whisky bottle collection collected over fifty years. Dolf and Daisy enjoy a bit of the distilled mountain spirits before going to bed. It dulls the senses and helps them into a good night’s sleep. No tour of the Front Porch Museum is complete until Dolf tells the story of Chief Yellow Drum, whose bust hangs over the cabin’s front door. The Chief is their talisman, always bringing good luck, except for that bad bout of the flu they both suffered in January.

The tour ends when Dolf feels the urge. He has bladder control problems and finds he needs to relieve himself on a regular basis. Pictures are allowed of the collection but not of Dolf and Daisy. They prefer to dress casually. City clothes are worn only on those specials days of the year when they go into Cloverdale for a drink at the Kicking Donkey to celebrate a unique find for the Front Porch Museum.

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