Trade Days in Fredericksburg now happens once a month. When I frequented the place, those many years ago, it was nothing more than three (if memory serves me) long rickety metal barns with piles of dusty stuff inside. There were a few colorful ole’ coots who were happy to haggle, but more enjoyed the banter.
There is more traffic now. There are more barns. There are even cutesy little single-vendor barns strewn across the grounds offering shabby chic furnishings, metal tools and native plants. And nestled right between the newish red metal bath house and the Saturday afternoon country crooners was the Biergarten. 100 beers the bartender says, “just don’t count ’em,” snickers the other. They’re selling sauce at the swap meet. I am in love.
As Gadora and Paula rounded the last corner of the market, she said, “This lady has a ton of junk.” We head in her direction.
The ground was soaked. And more than the mounds (and mounds) of collected and somewhat organized and moistened items, I couldn’t help but stare at the heads on sticks. Creepy, I thought. The babies are quiet here.
Next to shelves of collected shells or bins of metal things were baby doll parts in apothecary bottles. And little ones in need of love.
In awe, Gadora wound her way around the woman’s maze of oxidized, molding, cracking, rusting and decaying baby parts, bird cages, seat cushions, ceramic plates and gliding chairs. There was much to take in. As I entered her open-air soggy-carpet barn, a couple entered beside me. She whispered to him, “This is super creepy.”
I lean in to take one last close-up snap at almost the precise moment two women swizzling their beer cups gasp over the front yard. “Creepy,” one says to the other. And they are beckoned, too. Gadora never did see the “Lady” whose shop it was.
Today’s trip didn’t reveal a spot to sell my treasures. But, it WAS a good day.