As previously established, I am a sucker for places, events and things featuring the words “Largest, Tallest, Longest…etc” in their titles. So a flyer promoting Dayton’s “Largest Flea Market/Yard Sale” was enough to make me take the 90 minute drive. Deep inside, I knew that I should just stay home and do practical things like vacuum, but the sale was the “largest” located at a fairgrounds and, after all, it’s summer time!
My friends were lucky that they were able to decline going with me. The “Largest Flea Market/Yard Sale” took me about 20 minutes to walk through. Even the two story “Treasure Barn” antique mall attached to the fairgrounds was more of a yard sale reject disappointment than anything else. At least it only cost a dollar to get into the flea market (who charges for flea market attendance anyway?), parking was free, and I now knew what I wasn’t missing.
As a consolation prize to myself, I stopped at the smaller of the two large antique malls off Highway 70 on the way home. As it was a beautiful, mild, summer’s day outside (you know, the perfect day for a large outdoor flea market), I vowed to only walk the rows with booths where I could poke at stuff, and exclude the rows that were just lighted stacks of glass cases, no poking allowed. For some reason, the mall featured live music that day. A guitar player sat at the entrance to the rows playing away. I liked his repertoire, but noticed that his lyrics got a little more garbled as time passed. Who leaves out a whole verse of “Margaritaville“? Either way, he was an interesting addition.
I got to visit with my buddy Buttons who I had met on an earlier trip. Most of his glassy eyed friends were still in the booth, complete with enormous prices and DO NOT TOUCH signs.
The few Czechoslovakian birds I ran across were either ones I own or the “rare” ones who are well out of my budget for small, essentially useless pieces of ceramic. Aside from just things that were interesting to look through, no great treasures emerged until the second to last row. I always have to remind myself that one of the cardinal rules of going through antique stores is LOOK UP. High on top of a showcase cabinet was the squirrel that can see through your soul!
My mom and I first encountered the squirrel that can see through your soul at one of our stops at the Longest Yard Sale. We were maybe a little tired and slap happy, but we found the disturbing, golden, alien eyes eerie, but hilarious. Not $20 worth of hilarious at the time, but close. We’ve run into the squirrel many times since then, greeting it with a shout of recognition: “Hey, Squirrel!” but still finding the price tag of 20-30 dollars a little to steep for an unmarked piece of ceramics (Some people say
it’s McCoy but no one seems 100% sure.). She even sent me a photo of her boyfriend holding the squirrel at a local trader’s day. He just looked confused– the boyfriend, not the squirrel- clearly just doing as he had been told.
As always, I was excited to see the squirrel because my soul probably needs eyeballing. However the height of the cabinet made easily checking the price tag a matter of problem solving. I was able to reach up with my phone, getting a picture of the price tag to inspect at my more reasonable height of 5′ 6″. This manifestation of the squirrel was only $10! Even the taller mall staff member who got it down was amazed.
Tall Staff Guy: “This squirrel is only $10!”
Me: “I KNOW!” I left out the part about it being a real bargain for something that can see through your soul. I imagine the guy meets enough weirdos during his shift.
At long last the squirrel that can see through your soul and I are united. He will sit in my kitchen evaluating all who enter, holding his tiny golden nut aloft.
Updated 7/25/14: Mr. Squirrel has a black friend! Everyone should have one! A black friend I guess or maybe a squirrel. Works either way.