Sunday, August 06, 2006

Race Tracks, Yard Sales, 450 Miles of Road and a Little Boy

Sunny - Hi 115 Lo 89 for Baghdad, Iraq
Pop up Thunderstorms - Hi 91 Lo 73 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Road to Nowhere,
Talking Heads


Michael is gone for the weekend up to Mid-Ohio. This trip has been planned for a very long time. Mid-Ohio is up in Mansfield, Ohio about 3 1/2 hours north of where we live. Mansfield is a rural area south of Cleveland and has a large Amish community. So, why did Michael go up there without me? It's all about racing and sport bikes. Loud noise and camping are definitely not my thing. So, I kissed him goodbye Saturday morning well before the break of dawn. I have no doubt that he will post about it when he returns home Sunday night. He has called me several times with updates and has let me listen to the motorcycles speeding around the track at 160MPH.

So, what did I do? What any patriotic American girl would do... I went shopping! OK... OK... I confess, I hate shopping. I really have to be in the mood- The last time I went on a shopping spree was the all girl trip up to Chicago with my Mom-in-law, Sis-in-law, and niece. We had a blast and I spent way too much money. Saturday's shopping trip wasn't your typical jaunt to the mall (by the way, I hate malls). No, this was the 127 Sale.

Cath, what's the 127 Sale? Well, it is the Longest Yard Sale in the World! For any of you northerners unfamiliar with the term yard sale, I believe you refer to a yard sale as a tag sale. This yard sale spans Route 127 through three states, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama- 450 miles of shopping. I saw all the standard yard sale items... baby clothes and toys, out of style clothing, old kitchen gadgets and tools, antique furniture and furniture made to look antique. Old record albums and posters, fresh produce, pies and fudge, even boats and cars. One stop on my path had someone giving away kittens. The key to this sale is to get on Route 127 and drive slowly--- this is a two lane road, some of it through congested areas, and in other sections it's just you and the wild turkeys standing at the side of the road. Some of the yard sales were set up at the homes of souls living on Route 127; others were set up on gravel drives, barns, local produce stands, store fronts, churches, schools, etc. etc. I started in Covington and made it down to Owenton, about 50-60 miles. I didn't buy one thing. But what I discovered during my solo road trip through both city and country is that we live in such an amazing time and place.

The day was perfect, the heat and humidity we have had finally broke. The sky was crystal clear blue and because we have had a fair amount of rain through the summer the trees were brilliant shades of green. I don't know if I have ever mentioned it, but Kentucky is a beautiful state. We are surrounded by rolling hills that offer beautiful views into valleys. Many of the country roads in Kentucky are lined with dry stacked stone walls that have stood for a couple of hundred years, many of the stone walls were created by slaves. There are horse farms that line a lot of the state and they are truly breathtaking.

I'm not very good at yard sales - Shopping yard sales is a fine art that I have never mastered. I think it takes a special kind of person to go rummaging through someone else's belongings to find that perfect something.

So, my first stop was in Covington, Kentucky - the northern most point of the sale. I found a couple of stained glass windows from a church. They were exquisite. I'm wishing I had bought them now. I went back to my car because the area was busy and wall to wall people and I was pretty annoyed with my indecisiveness. I went back to my car and got even more annoyed because folks were walking out in front of my car, paying no attention to the fact that my Jeep Liberty could do some bodily damage to them... My next stop was at a Victorian home in Covington. (Covington is right across the river from Cincinnati. Any photos you may have seen of Cincinnati's skyline are usually taken from Covington). The two women that were having this yard sale were a couple of older hens and I mean that in the nicest most complimentary way. They were chatting and laughing and anyone within earshot was automatically part of their conversation. They were serving lemonade - no charge. "Honey, it's hot out here- thank goodness we don't have the humidity, but don't get yourself dehydrated - you sip on this lemonade - now it's not fresh squeezed so you'll have to forgive me." GOOD GRIEF!! She was making sure her shoppers were well hydrated. I felt obligated to buy something - anything! But they had nothing I wanted or could use - A lot of knick knacks and brick bracks and old hand bags. I went back to my car feeling like a loser. I was in a bitchy mood and for what reason? The day was perfect, people were out having fun, enjoying the day and here I was just shown some true southern hospitality. What right did I have to be in a bad mood??

OK - backstory. At Christmas, Michael and I make an oath to each other. We do all our Christmas shopping on one day - power shopping - we have it down to a science - I have lists and ideas for everyone on our Christmas list - I plot out the store's we need to hit and we do not waiver from that plan. We commit to each other that we will not get annoyed with each other, we will not be rude to sales help, we will not be rude to other shoppers and we will smile and be polite and bring good cheer the entire day. What typically happens is that the sales clerk is nice and appreciative that they aren't being throttled by another irritated customer and other shoppers return smiles as well. It has worked every time and we find we always have an enjoyable day. I decided that I would put those same rules to work on my expedition down this road...

I stopped at a couple of other places and smiled and would say to other shoppers things like, "The weather is gorgeous today, isn't it?" I got a couple of "uh-huhs" and "yes it is" . I had one old guy yell across the road to me, "Semper Fi!" (I have a Marine Emblem on the back of my Liberty.)

I then stopped at a house way out in the country- it was a few separate yard sales. I hopped out of the car and a young boy, maybe 8 or 9 informed me that, "Liberty's are for girls." I said, That's good, cause I'm a girl!" As I walked up to the tables I saw there was absolutely nothing of interest to me.
There was younger boy, 5 or 6, "We're going to go see Pirates of the Caribbean tomorrow."
I replied, "That'll be great! I haven't seen it, but I heard it was really good."
"Yeah, me and Mom and Tyler are going. Dad can't cause he isn't here." I reluctantly made eye contact with Mom - good grief... I'm going to be told way too much information about this family. Mom just smiled. Weird.
I then looked at the little boy and asked, "Why not?"
"Because he is fighting in Iraq. He's finding bad guys and making sure they don't do bad things to people."
This little boy knocked the wind out of me. I looked at him and asked, "Your dad's in the Army?"
"NO WAY! He's a MARINE!!"
I almost burst into tears, but I maintained. I said to the kid, "Come 'ere, I wanna show you something." We walked around to the back of my car and I pointed- "What do you see?"
"Are you married to a MARINE??"
"No, but I have a great deal of respect for Marines."
He then ran away and into their house and I thought I had said something wrong. I walked back to the table to apologize to the mom. He came out with a picture of his dad in dress blues. Through tears I knelt down and told this little guy, "Thank you." I looked at Mom and told her that I would keep her and her family in my prayers.

As I walked back to my car, he yelled, "You ain't gonna buy nothin'?"

This country is so beautiful. Sometimes it is easy to forget. But Saturday I saw the beauty of our land, I saw the beauty of our American heart.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Cpl. Timothy Roos.

Have a great week everyone!


JoJo said...

Wow. I got choked up. I wish we could have went with you. We did have a good visit with the family though.

Michael called Rob a couple of times so that he could hear the bikes. That really tickled Rob.

Side Note: Raccoons attacked my one lone hanging tomato plant on Saturday while we were in Paintsville. They pulled all but three teenie tiny tomatoes off the plant and left them strewn across the deck. Sigh. We think they shimmied up the pole and their weight pulled it over. Back to the drawing board.....

Jedi Master Rob said...

Lovely post. It sounds like it was a live-action Norman Rockwell painting. I'm verklempt.

Cathy said...

Jo and Rob --Thanks for the nice comments-- we can always go to next year's sale... unless you want to go with Mikey boy up to Mid Ohio. Also, I'm really sorry about the racoons trashing your tomato plant... come here... we have more than we can handle.