The rain is falling gently outside the bedroom's old rickety windows in the quiet of an early morning. The view is panoramic, romantic, a painting in muted shades of white, grey and putty juxtaposed with the wildflowers and lush greenery of Michigan's summer splendor…"cut! what's that in the corner?! Stylist! That bright red and white-striped sail does not belong in this picture!" My sail, like a loud drunk crashing this perfectly serene impressionistic moment, it's the prescient warning, the tension builds.
It's English country charm throughout and what you'd expect of this 40's stone cottage. But, is this my story? I stayed the course, ten years, I did, until a pile of signal flags (that Ellsworth Kelly clearly co-opted) showed up at the 100 mile Garage Sale this weekend. The sign of signs, you can't make this stuff up. And now there's four of us reviewing flags, lively discussing the whole idea of a period change, for the living room. It's epic. I'm fairly crazy about the prophetic nautical warnings like, "this vessel in distress and not moving (for sure)" and "this vessel altering it's course to port (that's right..and wrong)."
Will she divest herself of all those carefully collected nudes? Period quilts, rugs and fishing lures? The graphic pow of these modern masterpieces fills the screen, she can resist anything but temptation…Addiction. Intervention...What a front, the whole shop gig, that's why they're called "dealers," duh! All that country cottage crap, so much gateway drug to the modern minimalism hard stuff. Again with the signs and now the innocent child obviously experiencing advanced stages of fetal collecting syndrome, "Mom! Can I have one for my loft (packed to the rafters with stuff)!" It's epidemic, the buddy George is eyeing one for his bedroom too (probably hanging in there now). Is it true? Hot, sunny and blue waters scream beach day, yet these two 12 year-old boys choose the 100 mile yard sale in a blink, no prompting...
It's nobodies first rodeo here, the boys get the bikes, baskets and backpacks and we're off. Idling on the highway is for amateurs. We cover the distance, while all those poor folks are still trying to park. We know exactly where we're going and it's no more than two miles, skip the buzz kill of endless miles of consumer garbage and bad homegrown craft. Garage saling on this level requires one be in the zone, hyper focused. It's A LOT to plow through this much stuff, and man are the discard piles high these days. I am mostly not a garage sale shopper, but these too were such a hoot, they made it fun. The young pros already have the scan down pat, they know what they're after and not easily distracted (girls aren't on the radar yet). Everybody got a good laugh when they politely, but shamelessly, bargained for prices, it's sick! Call the authorities!
And this jaded picker found the ever elusive, "I haven't seen it before," early, folding, tin lunch box with the owner's name scratched in it, boat benches to make tables out of in weathered teak, a crate of yellow marquis lights will make a great sign (enough already) a hand-painted soda pop sign (stop her), a life ring in great colors (a little past saving, it and mine) and all those vintage cotton flags, you know how I love multiples. I also saw some longtime colleagues and got the local dealer news. It's good stuff. All your friends are doing it. Don't judge, you closet junkies.