Sunday, July 13, 2008

Double Bogeys

The middle installment of the thrice-annual Brimfield Flea Market was going on this weekend. It was a splendid Sunday summer afternoon, so we drove out there to attend...

The flea market here is supposed to be one of the biggest in the country. The biggest, according to some flyers I saw. Of the three yearly events in Brimfield, the July one seems to be the least crowded. We came last year for the September event, and it was a madhouse. This time the main drag (Rte. 20), had much more elbow room. None of us know too much about antiques and collectibles, but it's still cool to browse around, and see some of the old stuff that can be found here.

Like these old Coke and Pepsi machines, duking it out since time immortal:

Or rotary phones. Remember rotary phones???

We heard Red is the most popular, and toughest color to find.

Lots of chrome and shiny stuff too:

There is also surviving evidence of old marketing ideas that have fallen into obscurity, like cologne in chess-piece shaped bottles:

Or a short lived knock-off of Monopoly, called Finance And Fortune...

It was created by Parker Brothers in 1936, a year after the original Monopoly, and two years before the company bought the rights to the original...

I have no idea what things like this are worth, but I came this close to buying this game. Hope I don't regret not getting it.

Children's toys from the pre-television era always catch my eye, like this trike,

and this sled.

Rosebud...! ( I had to say it...)

Back in the day, according to the guy selling this device, squirrels were more popular as pets than dogs were. Dogs were relegated to working animals back then. But if a kid could capture a squirrel, he'd captured a friend.

Deer In The Headlights

Throughout the afternoon, Kelly was going around and doing some legitimate browsing, as was Chris. But truthfully, I had just come to look at cool old stuff. As I took pictures of some of the items, no one seemed to mind. I did get a couple curious looks, and maybe a raised eyebrow from a vendor or two when I asked the price, then took a picture instead of buying. I suppose they were thinking "If this stuff is so interesting, why don't you buy it?" but no one really said anything out loud. So I was getting progressively more and more trigger happy with the camera, as we went from booth to booth.

And so it was that I came upon a booth with some really interesting historical stuff, apparently from the old South. It was items from the post-slavery and early segregation days, and some of the sad, stomach-churning signs, pictures, and products that were merchandised in that era. Some of it was pretty brutal, and I won't mention it here, or post the pictures I took...But still, I love history, whatever the subject matter. And I found these things very interesting, and educational. So I was taking pics, kind of half thinking how I could incorporate them into this blog post; but I've since decided against it. At any rate, I was taking maybe my sixth picture or so, when I heard an angry woman's voice behind me:

"No more photographs!... Enough is enough!" I quickly turned off the camera. Taken by surprise, I meekly said "ok" and slinked off. I could hear the vendor saying to her partner "He was taking photos!" I was a little embarrassed, and not sure if what I was doing was wrong. I suppose their stuff was for sale, and this wasn't a museum, after all. So I kept walking, and didn't debate the matter. Besides, she really didn't look like some one to tangle with.

It was about time to go. The Flea market must run about a mile or so, along Rte. 20. And it was several booths deep on each side. We had covered three quarters of it, and were a little beat from walking so far under the bright sun. A nap would have felt good. This lady had the right idea.

Driving away, my senses were by now tuned in, to the antique. Old things, like this car, leaped out at me.

Once we got moving, the wind woke us up a bit, and we made our way north, on into Belchertown. On the way we drove through the Bondsville section of Palmer, and passed the notorious Gin Mill, a famous biker spot.

Once on Rte. 9 in Belchertown, just past Quabbin, we pulled into this place, Evergreene Golf:

Before I go on, let me just say a little something about the game of Golf: A more frustrating game the devil himself couldn't spawn. I tried hard, for two seasons, to master it. I tried to fool myself that it was fun and I was progressing. But once you fall behind on the scorecard, there's just no coming back. It's more and more holes, and endless greens to trudge to. Lugging a heavy sack of failure tools across hot acres of grass, all the while the score sinking deeper and deeper into debt...By the twelfth hole or so, it's all just a sod-chopping blur, and it can't end soon enough. Before long, clubs are being hurled into the woods, after the errant balls; closely followed by blasphemies. No, I can't see ever feeling the need to set foot on a course again...

But Miniature Golf, is different, Kelly often assures me. It's fun! So I grudgingly take up the putter again, if only to amuse her. And besides Chris is into it too. I'll admit it is fun for the first nine holes or so, but from about there, my attention starts to wane, in a bad way, and my score begins to plummet. The game is evil, no matter how much you miniaturize it.

Here's a couple short clips of our game, and the frustrations it breeds. Also, a surprisingly above par performance from yours truly, early on...

A great shot made by Kelly, on her way to clinching the title:

I will admit this much about golf: It's probably the sport that's closest to fishing, as far as just hanging around in the great outdoors...


VanDog said...

LOL! "heavy sack of failure tools"

Mary E.Carey said...

Another classic post. Love the toaster shot. Now I want to go back to Brimfield and see how much people are asking for all this vintage stuff. I hate it when people tell me not to take pics. I wonder whether that woman really had any right to, whether if you rent space to sell stuff than it is, in effect, temporary private property. The golf videos are good because you cut to the chase.

Tony said...

It was kind of a grey area there. The space is rented, but the stuff was hers...but then again, the stuff was for sale, and for anyone to look I'm not sure...

And yes, the only thing more tedious than playing watching golf..!

Tony said...

Thank you for the comment Dave...

About Chief Scott; I don't know too much about his tenure in Athol, but he's brought a completely refreshing no-nonsense approach to fighting crime in Holyoke. Several years ago, the thugs, drug dealers and gangsters RULED the streets of lower Holyoke. I remember how bad it was. Those were the 'crack' days. Remeber them? I wouldn't have thought about walking down the sidewalks any where below Pine Street, day or night. Scott came in, immediately teamed up with state police, and took the criminals right off the sidewalks, in huge sweeps, with the Take Back Our Streets program. He firmly enforces noise ordinances and loitering issues to clean up the low-level stuff. Scott simply does his job well, which is ARREST CRIMINALS. And he does it un-apologetically and unrelentingly. He talks to the kids about the ridiculousness of the 'code of silence' so popular today, and he demands memorials to gang members be taken down. He also tried to get Beacon Hill to set some kind of accountability for judges, because they too often allow the criminals he struggles to arrest right back on the streets.

The difference between now and several years ago is abundantly clear to anyone who remembers how out of control things used to be in Holyoke. The guy's a hero.

VanDog said...

I have to agree with Tony.

Before Chief Scott we had 3 people shot dead in just one month, in my nieghborhood alone. We had a special nieghborhood meeting about all the shootings.

In all the years since Chief Scott took over there has been no shooting deaths in my nieghborhood. It has been a dramatic change.

David W. Runyan II said...

thank you for clarifying about chief scott. you wrote very convincingly. it might be nice if you took what you wrote and placed it right under his photo so that everyone knows why you feel that way. dave