Or jumble sales.
On Saturday I went out intending to go to a sale and it was a bust. I was really annoyed. I was all the way out in White Bear Lake, which is like Mars to me. OK, maybe like Texas? So I’m driving and driving and then I see an enormous church rummage sale spread out across a parking lot.
So I stopped.
Wandering through the maze of crap, I saw a lot of kids clothing and stuffed animals. I’ve always wondered who purchases used stuffed animals. But then I spotted a big hunk of something that looked like the bottom of a tree trunk and I gravitated towards it.
It turned out to be the bottom part of a cactus someone had converted into a lamp. I had to have this. The guy selling it told me what kind of cactus, how they grow, how tall they get (as tall as light posts, apparently). I wasn’t really listening (which is why I can’t tell you what kind of cactus it’s from). I was thinking, “Sell me the lamp, Brother Christian.”
Here is the lamp. Kind of a poor photo as usual. This has a light bulb deep inside so that when you turn the lamp on, glorious light comes out through the… branch thingys?
Turns out, he wanted $50 for it. At a church rummage? I offered him $40, which is still too much (I was originally thinking I’d pay $15) but I’d already decided I wanted it. He said no. He couldn’t part with it for under $50. He just loved it too much and he loved collecting strange things.
I said, “I don’t think you should be selling this. I think you should just take it back home.” I meant only that if he loved something so much, he shouldn’t sell it. It would only make him sad. But it came out kind of bitchy. I bought a crusty cardboard box of shells from him and walked away.
I think his wife thought he was nuts and called him out on it. He came to find me in the crowd and said I could have it for $45. I said OK. Then I only had $44 left. I mean, I bought the shells! He accepted $44 and said I could consider myself the best bargainer at the sale. If I was the best bargainer, there wasn’t much of that going on.
I cleaned up the shells and put them out on my dining room table. This is what they look like in their new home. There were some larger pieces, plus a crusty, dried out starfish, that I set on the window sill on my porch. I think they look pretty good. Plus, where can you really get shells anymore? You can’t collect them. That’s so 1962 – it seems wrong somehow today. But you can buy them at jumble sales (I’m so UK) because they were already taken by someone else and if you don’t, they might get thrown away. It seems like SOMEONE should take them. I guess the same reasoning could go for fur coats?
This morning I went out on the porch and there were crunchy pieces on the floor. Upon further inspection, I found a bigger chunk on the rug. One of the pets ate my starfish. Gross. That thing could have been from 1979. Or 1984. Rest assured, that is going to be some serious roughage coming out the other end!
I’m not sure if it was Freja the Dog or Jones the Cat. Either one would not be above it. But since the bulk of it was missing (all five arms!), I’m going to assume that Freja chomped it down. Plus, she was interested in it when I brought it home and pulled it from the box.
This is all that was left! Which means that I can’t complete the craft project I was intending. I hope she enjoyed her first taste of sea life.