Went up to the Liberty Outdoor Antique Show on Friday. This show is generally acknowledged as the best outdoor show held in North Carolina (the Metrolina Extravaganzas held twice yearly outside Charlotte used to be good competition, but lately it has thinned out a bit, and the quality is spotty, with a fair amount of flea market junk on offer amongst the antiques) and is held late in April and late in September, yearly.
Twas raining, and not just a little. Twas raining more or less incessantly, and hard at times. The usual crowd was smaller at the opening (as at any good antique show, the paying customers were lined up and chomping at the bit to get at the goods.) At eight o'clock sharp a horn sounded, the gates opened, and the crowd snaked through, not in wild chaotic fashion as at Brimfield, but in orderly progression, first in line allowed in first. I knew that the chances of finding any photos were slim. Dealers follow the weather forecasts, and knowing rain was predicted, many dealers probably left their photographs at home. And some who had brought photos might well have not gotten them out. Several dealers had not bothered to set up---though their tents were up, their goods were unpacked, still in their boxes. And of course those dealers with only tables and no tent had retired from the fray until the rain let up. All in all, not a good day (or weekend, for that matter, as the rain returned Saturday) for the antique show.
Long story short, i was in this tent. The rain had collected in pools at the edges of the canvas roof. Seeing a big puddle of water at the edge of the tarp, I reached up to poke it and let it cascade to the ground, fearing that instead, it might cascade on my head, if left tended too, when all-of-a-sudden the dealer, the proprietor of the booth, was shouting at me, "Don't pull on my tent while I'm at the other end working on it!" I can say that this man was literally shouting at me. More than a little irritated at his angry tone, I told him I wasn't pulling on his tent. Fearing a more forceful response from my angry affronted self, and burning within at his public remonstrance, I immediately left his booth and walked quickly away.
I was maybe ten yards from the booth where the encounter had taken place when I heard a loud crash and the breaking of glass. The dealer who had shouted at me came bounding out of his booth, shouting again, "is this effing day ever going to end?" or some such. i will tell you, and i tell you without shame, that never has my inner feeling changed so completely in an instant from anger and pique to pure joy. I don't know what item was broken, but I do hope the loss was enough to tip this dealer into bankruptcy, or madness, or better, both. Never throughout the course of my existence have I felt that God had acted so summarily in my life to right a wrong and bring the scales back into balance, with me the better for it. Oh it was sweet, that moment. If I may be permitted the liberty of quoting a friend who had accompanied me on this little jaunt, "I never saw a grown man jump up and down and crow with glee like a six-year-old until that moment."
Alas, I found few photos during the long soggy muddy miserable day. Yet I would drive the 150 miles (round-trip) just to re-live that moment, that little sequence, from the Valley of Unjust Persecution to the Peak of Righteous Vindication.
This little photobooth was one of the few photos I returned with. I actually found a booth with a lot of photos that I wanted to buy, some albums that were interesting, a photo of a grandma fondling the horns of a longhorn bull, but the dealer in that booth had vanished and left the front flap and a chair blocking entry (I went in anyway, seeing photographs in boxes). found a lot there, but the dealer never reappeared for the rest of the day, even though the sun finally came out. I couldn't just throw down money and take what I wanted. I hate it that I left photographs that I wanted unbought, but there was nothing to do but grin and bear it. Still, this little photobooth is quite nice. She looks a mrwaterslide sort, don't you think?