Yesterday, discouraged by a chilly and cloudy day and a lack of sales at my shop, I found myself at the estate sale my friend Tina has been putting together with the prospects of a fresh pick and to satisfy my urge to buy more pieces of history. This was for the second sale as the one for the house had already been done two weeks earlier.
The owners of the farm had never thrown anything out and the barns and other buildings were littered with items from the time it was built in the early 1800s to the 1980s. Time had made objects a continuum of jumbled piles regardless of age.
I ended up staying longer than intended and found myself hoisting my body up to the second floor of a partially dilapidated storage building, using the top of a precariously placed cupboard as a launch pad. The storage space was ripe with mice and squirrel dung, walnut husks and the dust came up in clouds every time I moved a box. Undaunted, I handed down every useful box of canning jars and wine jugs by the dozens to the girls' waiting hands below. It was a scene right out of American Pickers, except this was a girl thing and no guys were on the premises.
By the time I got myself down from there(not an easy task, for this 56 year old body is not as limber as it once was) my hair was powdered with dust and the humidity had increased its volume at least threefold.
The gals who were putting the sale together were obviously impressed by my feat and I was allowed to cull through the first floor, finding a walnut jelly cupboard and wooden shipping box for cocoa that were both from the 1800s and a servant's fold up bed from the early 20th Century. Tina threw in a couple of signs for selling fruit and a red bucket which said "for use of fire only" from another garage and I was on my way.
I got my son and he helped me unload and then in the quiet of late afternoon after I had returned my helper to the house, I cleaned generations of dirt from the product sitting on the middle of the shop floor.
It's hard to describe the feeling I get when I am touching something that has been around as long as these pieces have been. I wonder about the original family who created them and how they lived in a world where there was no electricity or running water and where the crops they grew were a matter of survival. The land surrounding the farm is rich with the colors of wildflowers and overgrown orchards and even some bee boxes which still house the honey bearing insects. Wisdom emanates from the trees and the weathered buildings. It's been a good picking place for me. A very good place indeed.
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