The Best Medicine


It’s finally May but summer weather is not yet in New England. The snow finally seems to be convinced not to come back until Winter. The problem is that its friend, rain, continues to show up each of the last two Saturday mornings. Yankee me loves all kinds of weather but when it interrupts my anticipation of the new yard sale season, I have a problem with the elements.

This morning was finally dry. The air, not the ground.

The weather was finally warm. I needed a coat, not a parka.

I had a few bucks, not just my coins.

I took the fleabag of a lovable dog out for a pee. Then I headed out to the local flea for some crap.

Good crap. Cheap.

Nothing hard core but enough to break the ice as I started in on a new season.

That is also a good way to explain my first encounter as I started on the back row today. An older gentleman, salesman though he was, asked me if I was married. When I said, “Yes.”, he gave a big “Whhooop!” sound and then said, “That’s way too bad.”

Of course I was charmed. But not enough to stop at his table of tools. Besides, even if he had books and toys displayed, I don’t think I would have looked at his wares. I was way too embarrassed. That doesn’t mean that shy me didn’t also take pleasure in what he said. I don’t hear stuff like that anymore. The real hesitation was that I never could take a compliment. I only smiled and said, “Thanks!” “That’s nice to hear.” Then I silently told myself, as I walked a little faster, that I had done pretty well for rolling out of bed at 6:30 in the morning. I must still look good in an old pair of Levi’s.

Anyway, it was back to business. I needed to focus. Or so I thought until I saw all new stuff on tables that included sweatshirts, watches and hair bows. Really?! I didn’t avoid yard work for this stuff. I wanted the people cleaning their attics. The young couples getting rid of their single days stuff. The old people finally deciding to downsize in retirement.

My thoughts brought me up to the woman that was still unpacking. That’s always a good sign at 7 a.m. It shouts ‘ROOKIE’! My instincts were correct. She was moving to Florida. It was clear she wasn’t bringing her snowman kit. Or her ski boots. Again, rookie. Those are exactly all the types of things we are NOT going to buy in the ‘we finally got here’ spring thaw. Yes, I was put off. Or so I thought until I saw her box full of baggied miscellaneous. Yes, I dug into it. Thrill of the mini hunt. I gave her $2 for a leather medicine bag, candle topper and two mini-mini aged beer mugs. I didn’t buy her winter items but she continued to break the ice in my morning.

I really wasn’t feeling it, despite my need to get to the outdoor market earlier. I started to wonder why I was here? Why do I continue to show up so many weekends every year? When I don’t find anything of real value, why do I have to convince myself that I at least got some exercise? If I’m in the final row, why don’t I stop bitching at myself and just look a little harder?

That’s when I recognized a dealer. He had a lot of books. He doesn’t deal books. He probably doesn’t know what he has…

In fact, not. I talked to him. He’d bought the whole lot just to get the old guilded Bible that was on his table. I love The Bible as much as anyone. However, I don’t collect them. I already have one. So, rather, I dug into the boxes where he was getting rid of the rest for $1 each.

Perfect. Typical. Every time I get down on the places I haunt and wonder why I spend my time this way, my eyes lock on an item of interest. That’s when the adrenaline starts pumping. I can feel my blood flowing and my heart racing.

My fingers walked across the spines. I only had a buck left and I didn’t even know how much change. I pulled three books out of his lot of instructional guides, vintage school readers and biographies. I didn’t know what I wanted when I started out. Seeing these gorgeous etchings and beautifully fonted titles, I knew now what I needed.

Who wouldn’t rescue Stevenson from 1885? Steinback from 1932? Or a volume of The Atlantic Monthly from 1912?!

They all cost me a dollar bill and some dimes. It was at the expense of someone not appreciating that people collect books for a reason.

When my May day gets warmer later today, I think I’ll do some reading in the sun. Right now I have some research to do in my Levi’s.


2 thoughts on “The Best Medicine”

  1. Love your writings. I have to say I am extremely jealous of your Saturday morning adventures. Working on the weekends brings me no treasures. :(.


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