Yesterday was my birthday trip to the world’s largest and greatest flea market EVER: Canton, Texas. As they say: If you can’t find it in Canton, you just can’t find it. And it’s true! Yesterday I saw everything from a disassembled full-sized windmill to a 1960’s Lady Clairol bejeweled electric razor.
I brought along two helpers, my dear Jason and one of my dearest bestest friends, JJ (who is also a man, yes we made an odd trio). Anyhoo, so as always we hit the ‘Unreserved’ section, which has the highest percentage of the Junk-Which-Is-Most-Likely-To-Come-Home-With-Me. First things being first, after over an hour in the car, and being as I’m getting older, we had to locate the “facilities”. Granted, I wasn’t to the “I’m-Gonna-Wet-Myself” phase, but still…
After locating Bathroom #1, I just had to laugh. There was a line of no less than ten women standing on the outside of the bathroom door. Yeah, right. So, after another 5 minute walk, we came to Bathroom #2. I was initially on the Exit side, and thought, “Oh thank YOU, Lord…no line.” Well, got around to the Entrance side and there were NO LESS THAN 30 WOMEN in line. I marched back over to my helpers and wondered aloud the following:
“What are they DOING in there? Why do women take so long? I mean, I can really only think of TWO THINGS that you’d normally do in a bathroom stall, and I’m willing to bet that most are in there for the FIRST reason! Are they having a social mixer in there? This is ludicrous!” Please allow me to further elaborate that these are NOT the kind of facilities that you’d want to spend any more time than absolutely necessary. Allow me to explain, please. First off, if you’re expecting a stall with a door, you’re kidding yourself. Virtually all of the bathrooms are door-less, but they were nice enough to give you a shower curtain. Okay, I can handle that. But, where they really went wrong is that the stall depth, when seated upon your potty, is only adequate for toddlers and possibly (is this P.C.???) little people. I hate to use the word “midget” or “dwarf”, but this is what I mean by little people. Therefore, at my perfectly normal and average height of five foot four, my knees extend from the stall by a good couple of inches. And they have the dreaded ‘Grade School Height Toilets”. You know, the ones that you have to do almost a full squat to reach and your legs fall asleep? Yep, that, too. Also, forget the possibility of any hooks for your bags. So here you are in a row of about 50 stalls, squatted down eight inches off the ground, trying to balance your cumbersome upcycled, bulky shopping bags/purse, with your knees hitting a creepy shower curtain and sticking out further than your stall, just praying that you won’t topple over into the waiting throng of women and rip down the shower curtain, exposing your bum and spilling every content of your purse/bag on the concrete floor. It’s a fun game, let me tell you. I probably have quads of steel after all that exercise, not to mention the balance ability of an Olympic gymnast.
Finally, after we had reached Bathroom #3 (a little known facility next to a tool salesman and a pan flute CD vendor), I noticed there was no line. YES! I found an empty stall, and after taking the absolute minimum time, I turned to flush. No flush. I won’t go into details, but normally the rule in our house is: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” This didn’t really meet the “Mellow” category, either. What to do? I got out, snapped the shower curtain shut and informed the line of about 5 perfectly good strangers that this toilet indeed did NOT flush and whomever chose to go in would get a ‘nice surprise’. That’s just how it went down. Or not. Anyway. On to shopping!!!
Fairly quickly, I found my own version of Heaven: three huge long rows of all items for a dollar. I quickly snapped up a pair of Japanese tomato salt and pepper shakers, a Japanese ceramic potbellied stove, which was a pincushion and a measuring tape, several old farm journals, a baking pan, some calligraphy pens, and more. Apparently, dollar tables were a big hit yesterday, because I found every last one of them. Poor, long-suffering Jason and JJ shook their heads as I oohed and ahhhed over every vintage dollar-priced piece. “Oh, but doesn’t everyone need a ceramic owl/thermometer? What about this embroidered Kleenex box cover? I mean, someone out there put a lot of work into this…” Jason drifted off to tool vendors, JJ, just being along for the ride and the sights, was stuck with me while I pondered every piece of nostalgia known to mankind. “Oh, look at this hand-powered sharpening stone! And this hand-powered drill! Isn’t that awesome?” I don’t really know why I was wasting my breath; JJ and I are virtually incapable of changing out wiper blades on a car and can injure ourselves with a screwdriver. It’s not like we are mechanically-gifted people. Still, you get caught up in the nostalgia, no matter what the thing is.
After eight hours of meandering through miles of junk-filled tables, we were ready to call it a day. We typically end our day with the reward of a funnel cake, so that’s what we did. What I didn’t realize was that the vendor made his funnel cakes the size of a small table. As he handed us our cake, I wasn’t really sure how we were ever going to even BEGIN to finish this thing, even with three people attacking it. So, we all were laden with bags, and I balanced the funnel cake waitress-like with one hand and my bags on my other shoulder, and off we went. I took my first bite and literally inhaled a breath-full of powdered sugar. Note to self: Never breathe in whilst taking a bite of sugar-laden funnel cake. As the guys were laughing, JJ took his bite and also inhaled sugar. With both of us intermittently gasping for breath/laughing our heads off, I’m sure we looked a pair. Then, a woman walking beside us sidled up to us and said,”Didja breathe in some of that sugar?” Well, thank God weren’t the only morons who had had that happen before.
Following my pioneering dear, sweet husband back to the truck, I began to realize that we were getting to the edge of the vendors, but I couldn’t see any way to actually reach the truck. “No, you have to cross the creek. See? It’s right down here.” After nearly falling over a vendor’s trailer hitch and losing the funnel cake and all my pride, I looked down, down, down, and there was Jason, literally crossing a creek. Not at an official crossing, mind you…no, we had to slide down a bank, walk through the (mostly dry) creek, and climb to the other side. Now how in the hell was I supposed to balance a giant funnel cake bigger than my head and 5 inches tall, and two bags and make it across? I couldn’t help but think I’d surely be on YouTube within five minutes of this incident that was about to happen. Jason crossed first, then JJ. I somehow managed to slide down the bank with no incident. As I was attempting to walk up the (steep) bank to reach for Jason’s outstretched hand, I couldn’t help but notice him gyrating wildly, like he had an imaginary hula hoop contest with himself.
Me: “What are you doing?”
J: “I have to go to the bathroom!!! HURRY!”
Without embarrassing my dear husband, let me just say that when this man has to go, he has to GO immediately, Do Not Pass Go, Do NOT Collect $200, and stay out of this man’s way unless you want to be injured. Well, between the powdered sugar, my exhaustion, and the situation unfolding in front of my eyes with a wildly gyrating man with eyes about to pop out of his skull and me balancing my precious funnel cake in a creek, I got to laughing so hard that tears ran down both cheeks. There was no way possible I could reach up and grab his hand. JJ was absolutely no help, either. Holding his sides, he, too, was crying on the banks of the creek. When I looked up next, Jason was gone and here were two idiots on the banks of some obscure creek in the middle of nowhere, balancing a plate full of funnel cake and 50 dollars worth of dollar-priced items. Needless to say, with the help off JJ, I did make it up that creek and back to the truck. Sadly, by the time we got there, the cake was already cold and greasy and none of us even wanted the stupid thing anyway. But it made for a good story, didn’t it?
Can’t wait to go back and do it all again. Maybe next month?