After having acquired something of a reputation for my animated furniture, I was visited by a woman who was the very embodiment of the quintessential Southern grande dame - and if any of that sounds redundant, it is just because I wanted to make her persona crystal clear.


      Apparently, she had heard of my less than reverent approach to 18th century furniture, for she said, upon entering my humble establishment, "I have come to see some of your 'pieces'."


      There was no doubt, from the tone of her voice, that she meant for there to be quotation marks around the word "pieces". She marched about the room, taking in all with a withering glance here, and snort there (I know, Southern ladies do not snort - but there you have it.) - and then paused.


     From across the room, I could see her opening her ports and running out her guns. Oh, she was magnificent! She had taken in "Oops!", "Hickory Dickory Clock", the "Crippled Table", and now - now! vengeance was hers and she was bound on destruction. She came slowly, ponderously, across the room, like any glorious three-decker, to within cannon shot of me and delivered a devastating broadside:


"Mr. Cress, you are warped!"