I’ve been tuning in to the History channel’s TV show ‘American Pickers’ a lot these days. And while many of the characters and destinations featured on the show could easily find their way to an episode of ‘Hoarders’. Digging through a families history as opposed to unearthing years of unattended cat feces somehow appeals to me.
As a kid growing up in the shadows of Shea stadium, the junk yards guarded by attack dogs and pop up automotive repair and parts shacks just a few feet beyond, I became enamored with old trucks, their histories and the miles they accumulated while making their rounds. You see, everyone and everything has a history as well as a unique story to tell. For myself, I’ve always felt a responsibility to document and whenever possible preserve it. Knowing full well, that nothing is permanent.
Every now and then we need to be taken out of our comfort zone,.Shook up like good cocktail and have a little in your face with someone about something. When I look back on today’s little war of words. To be honest, with all the off the grid shooting I’ve been doing over the years. I’m surprised it hasn’t happen more often. Especially with some of the chances I’ve taken of late.
It was today’s little exchange however, that both caught me off guard and left me a little rattled. As we were returning from an Easter breakfast at one of our favorite upstate farms. We stopped along the side of the road to get some fresh vegetables to add to the days take. As my wife parked the car and headed towards the farm store. I crossed the road to get a closer glance of an old and (What I thought was abandoned barn.) As I began to cross the road I noticed two women walking towards me looking quite agitated. The younger one asked me what I was doing. I respectfully replied “I apologize If I’m on your property. It’s just that I was intrigued by that barn.” “Oh, that’s just an old broken down barn. I don’t mind if you take some pictures.” The offer seemed a bit back handed and she went on to note that the two dogs that accompanied her and what could have been her mother or the towns crypt keeper. So off I went. Moments later, that same woman was riding towards me on her bicycle armed with enough anger and spite to fire a mouthful of teeth straight into a vital organs. “This is private property! I didn’t say you could get close!” Jeezus, I thought she was going to pull out a pistol and shoot me dead. To say the very least, the exchange was so heated. I was expecting everything from a visit from the police to an updated version of leather face emerging from the barn. At the time. I didn’t feel I was in the wrong, but in retrospect. Maybe I just wore out my welcome. Lesson learned. Tread lightly, I suppose. I did manage to get a few shots without ever stepping inside. There was enough useless garbage stored inside the fuel a full season of Hoarders.
For as long as I can remember and most likely before them. I’ve always loved going to Flea Markets and Garage Sales. The sites and smells of the common man. The dust, dirt, heat and above all the give and “Would you take” that happens before most, if not all purchases. Getting to dig through a strangers history while often finding your own makes you realize how, with all of our differences. In the end, we are much alike. The only difference being, I haven’t saved every item I’ve ever owned.
As I get older I begin to see a wider and wider gap between the sellers personal idea of an items worth and the actual worth of the item. In my last two trips to Elephant Trunk’s massive flea market in Connecticut. I have come away with nothing but a sunburn and an empty gas tank. While I found the item pictured to be quite unique worth further investigation. The item I was interested in buying was so ridiculously overpriced, it made me think why did she even bother unloading her van. The rest of the vendors are packing up at the end of a long hot day and she’s asking $100 dollars for old. rusty and very empty oil can. One’s she had no luck selling and would be returning to her storage space. Ridiculous! I bought an antique Maxwell’s coffee can a few years back for $3 bucks in virtually the same spot. I’ve found more unique items sitting out on the curb elsewhere.
In the near and distant future. I see myself sticking closer to home and hitting up local fleas, garage and estate sales. As for these bloated hoarder summits. I’ll pass.