Books for Everyone!

4 February 2021

Sweating and Shaking

In the California Corona-world, this essay title risks lockdown for me, but I am forging ahead with it anyway.

My essay Halloween 2015 — Free Market Masquerade needs an update!  The masks have pretty much all been removed since that circus of deception ended in 2016.

I hereby offer this glorious trumpeting of creativity and productivity and free market freedom, along with plenty of classical lines, cotton designs, delicious details, and earthy excellence.

Sweats, real CLASSIC true sweatpants and sweatshirts — are back in the USA! Made in the USA. Stateline USA is returning North Carolina to its venerated roots as the textile manufacturing center of America.

Oh happy day!

These classic sweats are made in North Carolina with cotton grown in North Carolina, then milled in South Carolina, and returned to North Carolina to be cut and sewn into the desirable garments. Even the zippers and drawcords are Made in America.

And the colors!

Khaki, camel, steel, burgundy, dark green, to name just a few of the more nuanced shades. I purchased a college-fit funnel-necked black sweatshirt and a pair of coffee sweatpants (camel was all sold out!) — threads that proudly proclaim 100% American cotton clothing — made just for me!

The shaking part of this retail revival rally involves the creation of a wooden box. This art form dates back more than 200 years to the traditions of the Shaker community in Northeastern USA. The Shakers are a religious sect that originated in England in 1747 as The Shaking Quakers.

During the 1990s, I purchased a Shaker box in the New Lebanon finish from an “allwood” furniture store that specialized in Amish & Shaker furniture. I’ve longed to own at least one more of them ever since, but the crafting of these wooden art objects has seen better days.

The Shakers were, and are, a society of makers. In an America that had begun to lose the touch, and the pure fine art, of making things with your hands, these phenomenally simple but beautiful storage boxes are superb symbols of true American craftsmanship.

Today, the hand-crafted Shaker tradition is being passed on to future generations by highly-skilled artisans in the New England region. One of them is John Ryan, who sells his wares in the shop, NHShakerShop, through an online selling platform. His marketing message is as follows:

“Early American Workshop in New Hampshire has been handcrafting Shaker reproductions for 30 years. John Ryan has been a juried member of the highly regarded League of NH Craftsmen since 1991. His Shaker reproductions are sold in the Shaker villages of New Hampshire and Massachusetts and other fine galleries.

Each box is steam bent on molds and fastened with copper tacks. The top and bottom are secured with wooden pegs. All boxes are solid cherry. The painted and distressed finish on this Shaker box can be a beautiful addition to any decor - from traditional to modern. The finish is completed with a hand rubbed wax.”

I proved to self that I am the essence of restraint by resisting the fun, colorful allure of the Playschool stacking-ring of hand-made storage boxes. It was an effort, but the innate practicality of my Dutch and Scots forebears proved supreme over the feminine impulse to Buy-them-All!

The short stack tempted me, briefly, but the option to chose my own shades, and make my own unique pile of imaginative perfection — well, it’s a distinctly American desire that I yield to, often. In fact, I nurture that sensibility as part of living life, and living it well!

I ordered exactly 3 boxes: #5 in red; #7 in robin’s egg blue, and #8 in pumpkin orange. I intend to stack these wondrous aesthetic achievements of solid cherry in exactly that order — in my sewing room.

Beauty and fun!

The final clarion call of this free-market update involves coffee. I am very much a daily tea-drinker, and an occasional imbiber of coffee. When I do drink coffee, however, (with milk), I prefer an afternoon cup of light roast that does not wire me up past midnight. Black Rifle Coffee sells two varieties that I prefer: Silencer Smooth; and Gunship. Gunship is the smoothest blend of java flavor that I have ever tried, and I have tried enough coffees, good and bad, to faithfully remain a tea-drinker!

This review on the Black Rifle Coffee website was posted on 5 Dec 2020, by a gentleman who deserves so much more than a mere acceptance of his review. He merits a Medal of Freedom from all of the freedom lovers in this nation of citizens, shaking, sweating, quaking — and waiting . . . for that first light experience, which assuredly will come!

First light experience:

Gunship is the first light roast I’ve intentionally experienced. When I received those beautiful black bags in the mail, I eagerly opened one up to take in that amazing aroma that always comes from first olfactory interaction with a new bag. I was shocked when there was nothing! No scent at all. Nota, zilch, zero... That’s when I realized I lost all smell and taste from COVID. I had to stare at these bags for almost 3 weeks before I was able to finally experience that always perfect first smell of a fresh bag of great coffee. My morning routine made this coffee the first thing I was able to smell when my nose holes started to function again. IT WAS GLORIOUS!!!! I’ve finished the first bag and I really enjoy this coffee. It’s not my traditional normal darker roast go-to but it’s full of flavor, easy to drink, smooth as glass, and definitely worth a try. If you normally shy away from light roasts, it’s time to give another one a try and pour a cup of Gunship!