August 15, 2009

A Kiss Before Bouckville

Every August, My Sweet Baboo and I head both east and back in time to the Madison-Bouckville Outdoor Antiques show. We’ve gone every year that we’ve been together, and it’s now part of our ‘must-do’ list.

We are not huge buyers; we do own some antiques, nothing special and sadly, we don’t have any of those ‘oh my goodness’ items that we see on
Antiques Roadshow. You know, the vase that someone picked up for two bucks on the last day of an estate sale that’s a rare Tiffany and worth tens of thousands? Well, sadly, that hasn’t happened to us (or anyone I know). We will buy things if we can reasonably convince ourselves that we’re getting a deal, but we’re more lookers, happy to wander in and out of booths in our famous hazy, hot, humid weather, working our way up and down row after row after row in a field looking for just the perfect….well, whatever perfect thing we find.

We’ve had some comical adventures along the way, including two that are always mentioned as our Bouckville trip draws near. The first is the time I took everything I needed – tote bag for carrying purchases, umbrella for the scattered thunderstorms we usually encounter, allergy medicine. Everything I needed – except my wallet. It made for interesting shopping, as you might imagine, because my eyes were likely bigger than my own wallet, but definitely bigger than MSB’s wallet. I think I kept my spending to less than $40 that day, and I can confidently say that I repaid him for my purchases immediately upon arrival home.

Another trip started strong – found a couple of great Christmas decorations at one of the first booths we visited. Remember, the show is advertised as 1000 dealers…so the things you see at the first place you stop might likely be found at any number of other places…but the price may not be found later. So, me being some what impetuous, and having my wallet with me this time, decide to try a little negotiation. I got the price I wanted, paid for the things, and dropped them in my tote bag. Off to a great start! It didn't take more than about 10 minutes for me to realize that carrying around a tote bag containing cast iron Santas was going to make for a really, really long day.

This year, we opted to not go into the main show field, but instead focused our attention on the many dealers that set up shop on both sides of Route 20, and we were not disappointed with that decision. I would guess that we must have seen close to 500 dealers just wandering around. Signs were up everywhere, pointing to parking, food, and 200 dealers! 75 dealers! 100 dealers! Three huge tents full of dealers! Another hundred dealers! For some reason - we haven’t figured out why - it seemed like a more friendly, more social atmosphere on the street than in the field. With only one or two exceptions, everyone was smiling, laughing, and having a good time. I was able to continue my concerted effort at enjoying myself and trying to overcome our famous
CNY malaise, and had some fun in the process.

One example? We were taking a break and enjoying a rare breeze while nearby a woman was trying to decide if she should pay $25 for a full length fur coat. The owner of the booth told her she looked terrific; we told her she looked terrific, but she wasn’t convinced. She stood on a chair and checked out how she looked in a car window, but she really wanted to see what it looked like. None of the nearby booths had a mirror. We encouraged her to buy, not because we had any skin in the game, but because the coat looked great and even if she only wore it one time, it would have been worth the money. As we walked away, she was still talking to herself about whether to get the coat.

And then, lightbulb – I remembered I had my digital camera. So, back I went to the booth, the woman and the coat, took a few pictures of her, and let her see what it looked like. As soon as she saw the pictures, she was convinced, and bought it the coat, a huge smile on her face.

There were many other smiles too; we laughed with a couple who sold art tiles, dating back to the mid-to-late 1800’s, who were astonished when they overheard someone say the tiles were ‘just like the ones they have at Home Depot’, or the person who thought that a gorgeous tile with a $100 price tag really could be had for one dollar. There was lots of stuff that caused My Sweet Baboo to wonder why on earth anyone had made the item in the first place, beyond wondering why anyone would buy it for a second time now.

And of course we smiled at our finds: an expandable silver trivet, to go along with the others in my collection; two small art glass tiles that will complement our living room nicely; a bird print; an old brown bottle from a defunct Syracuse business; a great doorknob to add to the garden; and a couple of old printer’s plates that look really cool, even for folks who can’t read backwards.

Next year, come August, we’ll get geared up for the Bouckville trip again. And like I always do, as we’re leaving the house, I’ll give My Sweet Baboo a kiss and thank him in advance for the day we’re about to have. One way or another, I know we’ll have a good time, even if we don’t buy a thing. And I know if I do find some cast iron, we’ll pick it up on our way back, thanks very much!

Here are some pictures from the day, including some great tent ceiling reflections in sterling silver - enjoy.

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