Monthly Archives: December 2013

Anywhere, Anytime!

You’ve seen them before.  A bumper sticker that says, “caution, I brake for garage sales.”  Or something like that.  Hard core garage salers and junk shoppers have them.  Supposed to be cute.

I don’t go that far, but I have been known to make a U turn to go to a yard sale.  Just how addicted I am was revealed to me not to long ago.  On my way to the airport I knew my time was very tightly budgeted.  Strictly drive, park, transit to airport and then check in and fly.  No extra for anything.  I get nervous about being late although you’d never know it looking at how often I am late.

Happily driving along, on schedule, I saw the sign.  Roadside junk shop.  No time I told myself.  I looked at my watch to confirm.  HMMM, ahead of schedule.  If I turn around real quick and dash through the place I’ll be ok.  By the time I convinced myself of this I was a mile down the road.  I turned around and headed back.

It was a junk shop all right.  Lots of junk.  But, to find a treasure you gotta dig.  So I looked around.  Quickly.  Didn’t take long to spot the chair.  Not a chair as much as a stool. Old metal thing.  But through the rust and dirt I could see those classic lines.  Mid century modern!  The seat is torn up and wobbly.  There is rust everywhere.  But it’s basically sound.  And all the parts are there.

A little sanding and painting, a new seat and it’s better than new.  If nothing else, I can use the feet for part to another chair I’m working on.  Oh gosh, time to hit the road again.

This stop might have cost me five minutes.  Maybe ten.  But I made it to the airport in plenty of time.  And I got a treasure I might otherwise have passed up.  The number one rule of yard sales and antiquing is that if you like it at all, pick it up when you see it.  It could be gone when you come back.  And if you don’t stop to look, you’ll never find anything!  That’s the beauty of this addiction- you never know when or where you might be overtaken and forced to yield to it.  Or what you might find in the process!

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?


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You would think that one’s name is a pretty good identifier.  In the old days, when there weren’t that many people around, we only needed one name.  You were John, or Sally.  Then there were more people, and not so many more names, so all of a sudden there were two Sallies in the town.  Which was which?  We got last names.  Sally number one, whose father was a baker became Sally Baker.  And Sally number two, whose father was a farmer, became Sally Farmer.  You get the idea.  And it went from there.

Today, if you are Joe J. Smith, people know who you are.  Not that you’re famous because you are Joe J. Smith, but because they know you by your name.  It’s your label.  That is, it’s your formal identification.

But these labels are often customized.  These custom versions of a name provide a more personal picture of who you are.  Nicknames are sometimes given in love, but sometimes with disdain.  Lets focus on love.  And if you must know, as I child I was given a nickname by a group of dolts at school that proved to be a great nuisance.

My brother’s name is James, but we all called him Jamie until he went to middle school.  Then he was James.  My oldest daughter is Lindsay.  We call her Lindz.  My other daughter is Hannah.  I call her HB.  Or just H.  All loving nicknames.

Sometimes people go by a middle name.  My nephew does.  He’s Lake.  Or, people may prefer a derivative.  Katherine is Kate. 

Knowing all of this about names didn’t help me the other day.  I was told that Charlie would be there to help me move a big piece of furniture I bought for my antique store.  Great I thought.  Save my back and shoulder and let Charlie do the manhandling.  Big, strong Charlie.

Never occurred to me that Charlie was Charlotte!  And this Charlotte would never be mistaken for a man.  She had a good grip in her handshake so I was relieved a little.  What she lacked in muscle power she had in helpfulness and determination.  Between the two of us we managed to get the thing out of the store, down the sidewalk and into my truck.

In the end it didn’t matter that Charlotte was a girl.  And for the most part it doesn’t matter what our names are.  They mean something to those giving them, and we accept and adapt.  It’s our name.  Or change it.

We all answer to something.  And nicknames can be fun.  Have you ever heard the he-man’s sweet wife call him bubby bear?  Love.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?


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Colored Lights, Photo Version

For those of you who remember my recent “Colored Lights” post, this will all make sense.  The rest of you should go back and read that after you see this.  You will remember I described a transformation of my home from one decorated in white lights for the holidays, to one done in color for the season.  Here are two photos giving some inkling of this transformation.

This is the house in white:



And here, after a few very subtle changes, hardly noticed at all by the neighbors, is the house in color:



Isn’t that fun!

So, to those of you who use white lights, and those who work with colored lights, I wish a Merry Christmas, because after all, we’re all working toward the same goal.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?


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The Elf!

The Elf!

Here I am, hard at play in my little shop- Living History Antiques! Visit me at Hodge Podge Antiques Mall in Monroe, GA!

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December 18, 2013 · 10:58 pm


Ah, sleep!  A time to relax and refresh both mind and body.  And to entertain ourselves with dreams, or nightmares.  At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work.  If you don’t sleep well you just get more and more tired.  No matter how many times you fall asleep.

I was amazed at how well I slept while I was out of town.  Down at eleven.  Up at seven.  Go, go, go all day.  And no naps required!  Why was I sleeping better away from home than in my own bed?  Usually works the other way.

There are plenty of reasons why we may not get enough sleep.  Up for a bathroom break.  Uncomfortable bed.  Body aches or pains.  Stressed out brain.  Poor breathing.  And too much noise.

That’s gotta be it.  This trip away from home let me sleep in a very quiet place.  My parents live out in the country.  Not much traffic on the road at night.  No neighbors raising a ruckus.  Not even the crickets this time of year.  The guest bedroom is in a different wing than the master so any noise the folks might make I wouldn’t have heard.  No one else there.

Whoa!  That’s it!  No one else there.  I don’t mean this in any bad way, but my wife snores.  A lot.  She says I do too, which is probably true.  The difference though is that my snoring doesn’t keep her awake.  I lay there wondering how many seconds it will be before the silence will be broken.  3, 2, 1… Like a chain saw.  If I can get past this, and actually fall asleep, I’m OK.  Until she lets out a big snuhhhhhhkkkkkhm.  The cycle starts over.

At home I take a few naps here and there.  Just part of bein’ a family I guess.  That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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The Wine Corks

A fine example.  If you’ve ever wondered about the magnitude of sifting through the memorabilia of thirty-eight years of home ownership, consider this.  A basement.  Nearly 1000 square feet jam packed with this, that and the other thing.  And there, on a shelf under the stairs, next to a collection of dusty old wine bottles waiting for consumption, were three coffee cans full of old wine bottle corks!  He got rid of the bottles, but saved the corks.

My mother and father are moving.  After thirty-eight years in this old house, they are downsizing.  They have to go through the 2600 square feet of the house, plus the basement, attic and barn.  And yes, each of these areas is packed with things like wine corks!  I know my dad had a plan for the corks.  He told me.  He just never got around to it.  Just like every nut, bolt, nail or screw that ever passed through his hand.  All stuffed in coffee cans.

Don’t get me wrong.  They have a lot of really cool stuff.  I mean really cool.  And some of it is indeed stuffed in coffee cans.  But there is some other stuff too.  Stuff they will need to part with.  They can’t even take all the good stuff with them let alone the things like wine corks.  I know it must be hard.

Judging by the speed at which they are sorting through all of this, they should be finished by about…NEVER!  They have been contemplating this move for five years.  It’s been a reality for the past several months.  And, whoa! Did I mention it’s gonna happen in January?!  They don’t have to get it all done in January though.  There is a window of opportunity.  But they might want to pick up the pace a little.

Watching them in their daily routine, breakfast, coffee, the newspaper etc., I realize that they are in no hurry.  And I wonder, do they really want to move?  No, I think not.  They are not young anymore and it’s hard work.  Physically and mentally.  They have been there a long time.  Because they love it there.  But there are compelling reasons to move. At this point in their lives.  They know that.  And as the time finally arrives, I’m sure it will happen.  But first, they will re-examine the wine corks.  And so many other memories.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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Colored Lights

Most of the trip we flew in pea soup.  Thick clouds.  Unable to see anything below us.   Hell, I could barely see the wing right outside my window!  It was a big storm and we were either just above it, or right in the middle.  The flight was supposed to be two hours and from previous experience I knew that at this late stage I should be able to look down and see the lights of the city below.  Nothing but gray.

It was a gradual descent toward our destination, but it seemed like suddenly we were in the clear.  Below the clouds, we popped into the night.   Now I could see the lights. We couldn’t have been more than six or seven hundred feet high. And what was the first thing I saw? A house decorated for Christmas. The roofline defined by white lights.

Driving from the airport to the house I saw many more houses decorated for the season. These houses however were lit up with lots and lots of colored lights.  It seems that up North, back home, especially in urban areas, people use colored lights and blow up reindeer and tinsel to decorate for Christmas.  Lots of color.  Lots of fun and fantasy.

Part of the area I flew into is full of old, old historic buildings made of stone and brick.  These places look good with simple white lights.  A candle lit in each window perhaps.  That’s what my parents do in their stone farmhouse.  My sister, on the other hand, creates a fantastic exploration into the depths of color and plastic at her suburban split level.  Two extremes perhaps. But each scheme fits its location.

My house, the one I’ve been in for the past sixteen years, has evolved over time.  When we first moved in white lights were all the rage.  It would have been socially unacceptable to decorate with any other color.  We put a candle in each window and white icicle lights along the lower roofline.  It fit right in with the neighbors.

It didn’t take me long to get bored with that but my wife insisted.  “The neighbors already don’t know what to think of you, don’t make it worse,” she would say.  After a few years I slipped in some red and green rope lights on the columns of the front porch.  Then some strings of colored lights in the shrubbery up front.  Then into one of the trees.  Next it was colored lights along the roofline.  And the rail of the deck in the back of the house.  Without any complaints from the neighbors I had transformed it into a magical world of colors!

My wife likes to keep a Christmas tree in the front window.  All white.  You know, so the neighbors will be happy.  I don’t know what the big deal was because every year, ever since we’ve been married, we have had a Christmas tree in the family room smothered in colored lights and all manner of decorations that mean something to our family.  The colored lights reflect my personality.  And that of my family.  Fond memories of Christmases past, and of those to come.  Next year it’s gonna be spectacular.  Just wait and see!

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?

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