Monday, September 19, 2011


After two cups of coffee on Saturday morning, my ritual usually includes a leisurely trip to Rink's, the local flea market whose entrance is marked by a huge neon yellow sign that proclaims STOP ALL FOREIGN AID.  (This impossible-to-miss banner's strategic placement makes it difficult for anyone traveling south on Route 7 to overlook the foreign policy message of its owner.) Rinks is a gathering place for an eclectic mix of people who want to unload their clutter, make the next month's rent, strike up a conversation about politics, etc. or like me, search for a singular, unique find that costs under $20 but will land me a spot on The Antiques Roadshow where I'll learn my item is worth thousands....Dream on, right?

I enjoy the interesting folks I see there, and I've actually become Rink's "regular." I'm quite recognizeable by the wide-brimmed, bright pink hat I wear on sunny days.  More than one person's asked me where my hat is if I'm not wearing it, confirming that I've probably been the topic of conversation for more than just one or two vendors over the course of a slow sales morning.  (I've noticed Eliza declines all invitations to go on my weekly treasure hunt, probably out of fear that she'll be seen with the lady in the Pepto Bismol-colored beach hat. Or, perhaps, flea markets are just not her cup of tea.)

Anyway, in the field off the parking lot at Rink's sit several old rusty vehicles that have caught my eye for a while now. This particular red truck, whose purpose I've yet to discern, has been parked alone in the field for years now.  On several occasions, I've had it in my mind to take a closer look....For some reason, I want to hop in and pretend I'm cruising down the road behind the mammoth steering wheel. It has a Beverly Hillbillies-large-equipment-type feel.

The crusty vehicle is full character and personality. I'm drawn to its "face." When I first looked at it carefully, images of a huge, slowly crawling insect came to mind. And then there's the bear ornament on the passenger side of the hood, which convinced me that yes, this was a powerful beast back in the day. However, the huge hornet nest hanging just inside the driver's door dissuaded me from trying to pull the handle and take a peak inside. Come winter, I might just have to try to pry the door open and see if I can get in and drive down country roads in my mind....

Mostly, the truck piques my fascination with dilapidation.  Things that are rusted and abandoned, that sit stagnantly and lonesomely in an overgrown field, that have faded in color and are decomposing at a slow, but steady rate (like my barn) catch my eye and subsequently, my imagination.  In those things, I see beauty and  sense a sincere respect.  As they morf through the natural process of decay, they take on an artful soul, and I want to get to know them better.  It's like talking to an older person and hearing stories of his/her purposeful, unique memories of youth, I suppose. There's a story here that someone has to know, and I want to hear it.

When I think about what this old truck brought to mind last Saturday, I equate the feeling with those moments when Samuel was young and absorbed with the story of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel.  In the end, Mike built his house around the hole in the earth that his big, steam shovle had dug, and the two of them co-existed quite cozily in the cold weather, the antequated backhoe serving as companion and furnace. The final illustration in the book shows Mike Mulligan reading a book in his overstuffed 50"s chair while the steam shovel gazes at Mike, smiling obvious understanding / bond between a young boy and his best, albeit inanimate, friend.

More than likely, if I had a huge home in which I could house pieces the size of this truck, one might just find them as an "objets d'art" in my den....I like that idea, minus the hornet's nest.

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pamela lawson said...

The great thing about this truck, and all things no longer thought to be useful,is that they still leave an echo. I hope the things and people I care about,and even myslef, are as lucky as this old truck and someone hears our echo and responds.

Very Mary said...

I often wonder why I am no longer part of the Rinks excursion.