“My map was turned upside down, Mable!”
“Is that why we’re out here in the boonies?”
Mable’s sigh reflected how hopeless she thought this day was becoming. She glanced in
her rearview mirror to check for traffic before she swung the car and attached trailer into
a farmer’s lane that had a wide turn-around at its end. The dust-covered caravan wormed
a circle back onto the road as we reversed our journey to the main highway.
Two weeks ago, this whole thing seemed like such a lark, but now, road weary and
nearing poverty, we were thinking it might be time to give up and go home. Ah, but that
would take money and we had almost nothing left. We’d have to hit at least one more
flea market and hope for the best in order to get back to Ohio. The nearest market was
where we were trying to go, but my less than exemplary map skills put us miles in the
“What time does that brochure say we need to be there to set up tonight, Mryt?”
“Well, it says, umm, let me see…by 7:00. Better floor it, Mabel!”
“Yeah, you get us lost, then pressure me to make it come out all right.”
Still, she pressed the pedal to the medal, so to speak.
Our troubles didn’t bother us for long. The sun was shining; the scenery was beautiful;
and hope was riding with us. This trip had worn us out, but we’d had a blast getting to
know one another away from the pressures of our antique shop, Little Rascal’s.
I settled in my seat and watched the scenery fly past. We rolled into the Bradley County
Fairgrounds at 6:15, by golly. This was our fifth Antique Show and Flea Market so we
could almost unload in our sleep. A bleary-eyed presenter pointed us toward the building
we were scheduled to set up in. At the door of the Sheep Barn, a teenaged-back-for-hire
loaded our stuff onto his cart and rolled us to our spot. We paid him with our next to last
We managed to get most of the glassware unpacked before the presenter shut the lights
off row-by-row. He left our row for last. Nice man. I hope.
The next morning, at 6 am, we hit the floor running and got to our spot before any early
birds showed up.
“I need coffee, Myrtle,” said my sister after twenty minutes of placing the displays.
“Ok, let me finish this, and I’ll go find some.”
I followed my nose to a café in the back of the building. I nearly turned around when I read the sign over the counter: PTOMAINE JOE’S.
“At least he’s honest,” I muttered.
I got back in time to see two buyers looking over a Depression glass butter dish with a
“I don’t think this top goes with this bottom”, said buyer one to buyer two.
“You are so right”, said buyer two to buyer one.
They turned to Mabel and asked her to sell them just the top since it wasn’t really the
right one anyway.
Mabel smiled, took the dish and said: “Oh my, we never sell faulty merchandise,
gentlemen. I’ll just put this away.”
Their faces fell, but they finally forked over $60.00 and left in a huff.
“How many times do you think that’s happened to us, Mabel?
“Enough for us to learn, Myrtle” she answered with a grin.
We had the gamut of buyers that day; the lookers, the walking-encyclopedias, the my-
grandma-has-one-just-like-thats, and the collectors. We love the collectors. They scan
our booth with infrared eyes and zero in on their target in seconds. A collector never
squabbles over price; he hunts, bags his trophy, and carries it away.
At the end of the day, we counted out enough money to pay the presenter and make it
“Give me five, Mabel!”
“On the side, Myrtle!
”In the air, Mabel!”
“We’re square, Myrtle!” We slapped hands and smiled.
That night, we placed our camp chairs outside the trailer and reflected on our trip.
“I’ve loved every minute, Myrtle”, sighed Mabel.
“It’s been quite an adventure, Mabel,” I agreed.
“Do you think it’s changed us?” she asked.
“Isn’t that what adventures are supposed to do?” I answered.
“Well, that’s what they say in all the books.”
“Ok, then. Who are we to buck the books? It’s been an adventure”
We looked at each other and grinned.
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