Thursday, January 18, 2007

Saturday Morning

A group of Amish girls pardon themselves as they move ahead of me, stooping down to their parents who sit on plastic, woven lawn chairs underneath the tent. I stand just outside the canopy begging warmth from the early morning Autumn sun. The girls are given a few dollar bills and they pass me again as they run toward the food cart that the Ephrata Fire Company has set up in the driveway of the 200 year old home. The auctioneer is holding up an old, aluminum trashcan, pale pink with ballerinas dancing in an endless circle around the center. Minimal chipping, paint in good condition. Late 1950's. "Do I have ten", he starts in rapid fire voice, "five, five dollars for this vintage can. And not just any can. This can is full of clothespins. Do I hear five? Three. Two. Two dollars. Just the clothespins would cost you three times that price. One dollar!" I shoot my hand up at the same time as the Amish woman in the front row. The auctioneer looks at me. "Two dollars?" I nod. "Now we have two. Two. Three. two Three." He is looking at the woman. "Two. Once." She nods and he looks at me again, "Three. Four. Four dollars for the can." I hesitate. The can has more scratches than I initially noticed but I see all those clothespins now. I am thinking of something else. I shake my head yes and listen as he tries to raise the price to five. The Amish woman has lost interest. "Sold. Number 133. Standing in the back. Next up a quilt..."
I walk toward the aisle where a young boy passes me the can. I thank him quietly and place the can on the wet grass where I have piled the other items I've won. A small handmade quilt with a little fraying at one end but brilliantly colored. Two primitive rug beaters with red wooden handles. I was excited about getting the rug beaters for five dollars each. I sell a lot of these in the store priced close to thirty dollars a piece. I feel the need to justify waking up so early on a Saturday morning and the rug beaters do just that. Truth is that I used to come anyway, even before the store. I'd watch more than buy in those days, wondering what people did with all that stuff. I still wonder about that. The dealers, like me, I understand. We buy. We sell. We like to possess things but only for a little while. Clean them up, wonder about their history and pass them on again. I like the idea of antiques. It's a green business. We recycle. I understand the Amish too. They buy what they will use. Buckets. Rugs. Sewing notions. Tools and barn equipment. It's the others I can't figure out. The ones that buy boxes of old towels and chipped teapots. What do they do with that stuff and how does the desire to possess it get them out of bed on these early Saturday mornings? I am thinking these thoughts and realize that I missed the last auction. A chalkboard from the late 1800's with a small wooden box of chalk. I am mad at myself until I notice that one of the Amish men has purchased it for his children who are smiling these really great smiles. I wish my own kids could be so pleased with a hundred year old chalkboard and a box of chalk. I let go of my anger even as I calculate the eighty dollars or so I could have seen as profit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have just returned from a Caribean Cruise and had the most splendid time as I also have while reading your thoughts and observances. I can most surely relate but have not the gifted talent you have for the written word but so appreciate it. Thank you Lorraine for keeping me alert and informed and enlightened.It makes me realize just how wonderful it is to not only have a great sister to love and honor, but to learn from, which is truly a blessing. Thank you Love DeeDee