Shopping at the Swap Meet


| 2/10/2010 9:40:13 AM


Tags: gifts, swap meet,

When it comes time to procure a gift for me, the last place my husband heads is the mall.

  http://www.farmcollector.com/uploadedImages/FCM/Blogs/First_Things/FC-MH10-lm-ledger-01.jpg 
  What girlish dreams are built of: A 1937-38 John Deere pocket ledger found at a swap meet. (Click the image for a larger version.)

He would, as he readily admits, “rather take a beating.” Instead, he does what any clear thinking man would do when shopping for his wife: He trolls the swap meets at tractor shows.

Swap meet souvenirs are not generally the kind of thing girlish dreams are made of. But girlish dreams are so far behind me that they don’t even show up in the rearview mirror. I still perk up when presented with flowers, but these days, I am utterly charmed by a carefully chosen antiquity.

It started when he presented me with a very old barn pulley, a companion piece to a hay trolley I’d adopted. Later finds included an antique watch fob, a bullet pencil, a set of magazines from 1918, a vintage porcelain sign and a box full of cobalt blue glass bottles. Each had special meaning and significance, and each is a cherished gift.

But it is hard to imagine how he will top his most recent score: a 1937-38 John Deere pocket ledger printed with the name of the hardware store once owned by my great-uncle. This is the kind of thing you could spend decades searching for and never come close to.