My daughter and I spent Saturday in the flea markets – three of the several in my small town and others around Central Arkansas. We experienced “antique stores” that were really flea markets and “flea markets” full of old, potentially valuable, hidden treasures.
I have to say right here that my china, circa 1952, must be rare beyond compare. I have looked for several years hoping to replace some broken pieces but have never seen my pattern hidden away amongst the other dishes. But I digress.
I love browsing through these stores, though I’ve never collected antiques. I like to look at the arrays of old books and music, or poke in the vintage ricers, dicers and whips, remembering the things my mother had in her kitchen. Occasionally, I buy a small token that brings a memory.
Like a metal top, a child’s toy with a handle you push to make the top spin rapidly. Or an old Prince Albert can. My dad was a heavy smoker for many years and often rolled his own, probably to save money. Later when filter tips came in, I think he continued the habit because he preferred the taste of the pure tobacco.
Dad was always very comfortable with who he was, and in the 70’s there were hardly any smoking bans. Once, on a business trip to New York City, he drew smiles and curious looks when passersby saw the distinguished business man in a three-piece suit pull out cigarette papers and the makings and light up what looked for all the world like a joint. (or so they tell me.)