I must admit it…I found my Nirvana!! Nirvana is described as Perfect Peace and Happiness, and I FOUND IT at the St. Augustine Florida Flea Market!!!!
Before someone calls in the Doctors and Psychiatrists, let it be known, that I have a Junking Habit!!!! I Love the stuff!! I Love collecting it. I Love selling it! I Love looking it over! I Love making decisions about what I can do with the Junk; what I can make with the Junk; what I can decorate with the Junk! To me, Junk is a reservoir for creative juices! Anything is possible with Junk!!! So, I went to the Flea Market one Saturday…Late!
It is late spring in Florida and we still have Zillions of Northern Visitors here escaping the never ending Winter. I didn’t want to fight crowds on a perfect Saturday afternoon, so I went to the market late!! By the time I filled up my car with walking shoes, sunscreen and water and then drove the distance, it was about an hour before closing…no problem!!. I easily found a parking spot close to the entrance and I proceeded to enter the covered stalls and walkways and within moments, I was in a state of Panic!!!!!
First, how was I going to make it through all of these vendors (300+) and through all of the acres (10 acres) by 4:00? I had no idea that this was a Junker’s Paradise! It had been years since I had been to a Flea Market and even then, they were filled with sno-cones and tube socks and tools!!!!
Table after table, stall after stall, and walkway upon walkway filled with JUNK! GLORIOUS Junk! And I mean the kind of stuff you have to go to 20 garage sales to find!! There were books and fresh flowers, pottery and jewelry, vintage Barbies and 1940s tricycles. The smells of cotton candy and hot dogs wafted through the air giving the place a Circus atmosphere.
The crowds had thinned, so I picked up my walking speed. I came upon an elderly woman selling old costume jewelry. 50 cents apiece, so I chose 10 pieces and she threw in 10 more!!! It was the end of the day and she didn’t want to pack the stuff up!! Moments like that just swell my heart! Another over sized stall was loaded with furniture. Rocking chairs, chests of drawers, headboards, kitchen tables all covered in layers of dust and grime but stickers stating “$10 firm”, “$5 will neg” , “Make an offer” appeared on the pieces. I made a mental note to return next weekend with a measuring tape and an updated inventory of what I needed (nothing) and could use (everything).
I worked my way among vendors starting to load up their wares and began to scan the “promise of treasures found” more quickly. Since I was still in the first building of 11 and time was beginning to work against me, I decided to just concentrate on this building and return next week to tour the others. This was not going to be an easy shopping (Junking) trip!! And I had to move fast!!
With the speed of a seasoned thrifter, my eyes scanned tables and shelves while my feet kept my body moving. I stopped only briefly to grab a chalkware vase I had spotted 10 yards before I approached. $12 slapped into the hands of the vendor and I kept moving. Bags of fabric going into the trunk of a vendor’s car were saved as I shouted “Hey! How much?” A quick thumbs up and I gave $5 over while balancing my purchases. (Note to self – Next time bring a large carrier for the junk!)
Finally, the loudspeaker announced that the Flea Market had closed and the Vendors were now more interested in calling it a day. I relaxed as I turned around to retrace my steps and leisurely watched as the tables were covered and chicken wire doors were secured. The vendors shared stories of their long day and laughed at all they had seen. A few made quite a bit of money to hear them tell it. Others were disappointed by the lack of customers or too much dust or sunshine. The children who had come with their parents were tired and hungry and wanted to hurry to leave.
I carried my packages back to my car while planning my next trip to this magical wonderland of Junk Nirvana. This was so much more fun than the glittery shopping Mall where displays and chrome advertise overpriced clothes on mannequins that are too skinny. So much more interesting than going in and out of perfumed scented entryways of large box stores and then up escalators to towels and bath décor that would break the bank. And certainly, much more entertaining than the parade of teenage Lotharios and Princesses endlessly traversing the center of the Mall!
Yes, even while driving away and passing the now empty stalls and the “All you can Pick” Strawberry fields, I knew I had found my Junking Home!!
Happy Treasure Hunting!!!
Until next time…
Keep on Junkin’!