Sunday, 16 August 2015

Flea Market

Dawn mist has barely burned off Hillsborough Bay,
Rick Milton’s prize Charolais have lowed a morning chorus
from their feedlot beside the Cumberland Road,
the coffee’s brewed…..I grab a cup to go……
it’s Sunday and the North River Flea Market opens at 9:30 sharp
              or when the admission till arrives.

The foyer is already packed with pickers pressing the door,
revisting the bones of homestead auctions,
 anticipating future fire- sales,
none dare leave the crowd to gasp a cigarette.
Toonies rattle on the counter…….the race is on,
not a stampede, but swift stealth up and down the stalls of
                 antiques hauled from mainland fairs,
                 bric-a-brac from Saturday garage sales,
                   personal treasures …..times are tough….
little escapes their practised eyes, and soon they are gone,
leaving the remains to the amateurs, the habitually curious and
               the exodus from Church.

Family vans and beaters begin to squeeze the parking lot
beside shiny mega trucks, some imported from the oil-patch “Fort”
by seasonal riggers whose fortunes fluctuate with the price of oil.
A knot of leather admires the Harley parked on the lawn beside the
piles of slightly used tires, resuscitated bicycles and
           tired lawnmowers.

The aisles are crowding now with an eager throng and bottlenecking strollers of SUV proportions;
old timers reminisce over tools  of once skilled trades,
now obsolete;
vinyl, diskette, CD and VHS are thumbed for rare editions or
memories’ sake;
local shell art,  paintings and photographs of boats, bridges and lighthouses,
tourist souvenirs;
old bottles, musty books, toys, golf clubs, knives,
 china, glass, plaques of churches long abandoned;
 breads, fruitcakes, cinnamon swirls, jams, jellies, pickles, home-baked pies,
rhubarb sticks;
                             Anne and Lucy Maud are omnipresent.

The canteen serves large mugs of tea and coffee,sandwiches and hot dogs with all the fixin’s,
as the 50/50 draw megaphones around the hall.
I spy a tome of 18th century poetry  and open bidding at a dollar,
only to be thwarted by a dealer who has done his E-bay homework….
 it’s not worth the aggravation to haggle
 down from 40 bucks.

Below his trestle, Lowell  has hidden some choice treasures for me , safe from pickers’ eyes,
head vases of costumed ladies, uranium glass glowing  in black light,
torpedo bottles from the soda rack of Victorian pharmacies…..
one stamped with Schweppes….the original tonic water laced with quinine.
No need to bargain here; a fair price, a handshake and I leave the market
clutching yet another antique I said I would not buy,
to add to an ever-growing collection for my children to have to sell,
oh, sweet revenge!

Context for Flea Market
The Sunday morning flea market as become a habit during our annual summer holidays on P.E.I.'s south shore. I have made friends with some vendors who set aside items I like to collect.....the bric-a-brac piles higher back home!


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