The whole thrill of junking is that you just know the next table will have what you’ve been looking for all your life. –Mary Randolph Carter
Last Saturday, as an early birthday present, my husband took me to Canton, TX, to go shopping. Canton’s First Monday flea market is HUGE. You could be there for a week and still not see everything. I am completely addicted to anything that resembles a cheap garage sale, so of course I had to go.
I always drag Jason through the so-called “Dog Alley’, which is where they permit animal sales, and it totally separate from the main flea market. I have to tell you that if you have never been, and if you enjoy people watching, this is by far the place for you to go. You’ll never come out disappointed, or unscathed, for that matter. You see things that make you want to cry out with laughter, and things that just want to make you cry. For example, this time around, we saw the typical ‘redneckerie’ surrounding the animal sales tents. One vendor I was listening to managed to completely convince a woman that she would be able to take a goat home in her compact car by simply putting down a trash bag in the floorboard .(obviously the buyer has never had a goat, who will probably immediately jump onto the dashboard or back glass as soon as the car starts, as well as eat various parts of the upholstery. Not to mention the diarrhea and urine that are sure to come flowing out of the goat when it realizes it is in a moving vehicle, but anyway…) And, one vendor was savagely and cruelly snatching chickens up by one wing, yes, one wing, all the while the poor chickens were screaming as though they thought they were dying because they thought that they were, and it was obvious that she didn’t consider that the chickens actually do have brains and nerve endings and painfully obvious that she just considered them as ‘things’. I am not a supporter of animal rights, but I do support animal welfare, and there was just NO sense in the way she was doing that. For whatever reason, people hold chickens by their feet/wings/etc, when it is nothing but humane to grab them by their bodies, with wings held in place. It is not that difficult, even my three year old can do it.
So, we walked on (while I was contemplating snatching that woman up by her arm and twisting it behind her head), and I saw lots of people who paid WAAAAAAAY too much for puppies walking with their new purchases, which I knew likely were infested with worms and had coccidiosis, if not even some fatal genetic disease. The worst part is that these are people who appear to not have two nickels to their names, and have just seriously overpaid for a sickly animal.
Anyway, we drove to our favorite side of Canton, which is the unreserved section. It is essentially a huge, super-cheap, conglomeration of JUNK. Or, junque, as I prefer to call it. I managed to find a pair of 300-500 dollar, handmade python boots for $32, dishcloth calendars for $1, and a leather rug for ten bucks. Because rain was forecast, we were even given FREE junk! I got an old metal Coca-Cola tray, and Jason got some kind of tools and a John Deere hubcap. We fully believe in repurposing, so, his junk will likely adorn his shop, and I am going to use my tray as a magnetic message center.
Jason was talking to one of the ‘vendors in a van’ (people who are nomadic junk haulers and probably hit every flea market in the South), when a young, pretty and preppy girl walked by. She was wearing a tight shirt with the number 3 on the back. If you live in the South, you know that the #3 is only seen as one thing: dearly departed Dale Earnhardt, who has achieved the highest status of those other Southern icons, such as Colonel Sanders and Robert E. Lee. Anyway, the Vendor in a Van called out to her several times, “Hey! Heeeeeeeey!”. She finally whirled around and said, “Are you talking to me?” V in a V said, “Yeah, I was wondering if that’s a Dale Earnhardt shirt you have on. ” She said (after a long pause), “Uh, no, it’s Ralph Lauren.”
I’m pretty sure that V in a V had no idea who Ralph Lauren is or what he does, but as the girl walked off, he said to Jason, “Well, I was going to buy that shirt off of her so she’d take it off right here!” Jason kept his head down, possibly to keep from laughing, but more likely from sheer embarrassment. Then V in a V immediately went into a story, saying: “Well, back when I was in prison…”. Clearly, it was time to walk away. Judging sheerly by looks alone, it was not surprising that he had once ‘worked for the State’, if you will, nor would it be surprising that he would one day return. Fortunately, I was busy trying on my python boots at the Boot Vendor in a Van, and didn’t hear that part of their conversation.
Well, that’s Canton in a bag for you!
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