Well, this is it, the start of something I should have been doing a number of years ago. Better late than never, I s'pose.
Now, if you happened to just trip over this blog, thinking:
"Hey, cool, this guy plays Banjo!"
Sorry, I don't play a banjo...nor any other stringed instrument...no musical instrument at all, really...not with any kind of talent or skill, at least. Can bang on the piano, make those old school "horror movie" sounds, but that is about it. I think I might be tone deaf, too, so don't bother getting me to try singing, either. Not a pretty sound at all....
SO, if I don't play banjo, then what kind of "picker" am I?
Yeah, ok, "a nose picker", yeah, yeah, yeah, heard that one before...can you hear my eyes rolling? Read my lips - Go a w a y!
Still here? Ok, so you are truly interested. Good!
I'm essentially an "antiques picker" . So, in this context, a "Picker" is a person who travels around buying antiques/collectibles and related stuff, usually intending to resell the items to an antiques dealer, a collector, decorator, maybe at a flea market, antiques mall booth, etc. If you have been in or are in the antiques business you are quite likely familiar with the term, too. If you happened to have seen the History Channel show, "American Picker" you are already familiar with the general concept, though, they are essentially just an example of one type of picker.
Myself? I am a picker, similar to the guys on "American Picker", yet I am different. No two pickers are alike, really.
I have been in the antiques business for over 20 years. I have also loved old junk since I was knee high...2 feet tall? Ok, so I was a little taller than "knee high", but you get the picture. I'd take trips on the Greyhound to my Grandparents place in a nearby town to stay a few days...I am assuming my parents wanted some alone time....and one of the highlights of the stay there was a trip out to the town's garbage dump to look around.
I KNOW some of you are going "ick" and others are saying "HEY, I used to do that with my (-insert relative here-)." Yeah, you are out there...and there are more of you out there than will admit it!
The back part of the dump, which was the oldest part, was flat, and nothing really grew there (what the heck WAS in that ground???). Mother Nature used some of her her tools; rain and wind, to expose the solid objects just beneath the surface of the sandy soil. So, we would find all sorts of treasure, thing such as old bottles, like thick glass 6 oz Coca-Cola bottles, pre-1900 cork top bottles on occasion, and bottles of all kinds, bits of glass glittering like diamonds in the sun, blue, white, and other old colors of china fragments, as well as other assorted bits of years pasts' trash. My grandmother had an interest in such things, and was also a creative sort, so various items got salvaged, saved, and archived, much to the chagrin of my grandfather, I am sure. He had little use for anything old, generally. My grandmother kept her treasures and things clean and very orderly, and mostly stashed out of sight.
The most heart warming childhood memories of my father and I interacting would be when we would take a load of trash out to the local town dump, and generally, we'd come back with something...occasionally even a full load....much to the chagrin of my mother, who inherited her father's non-appreciation of clutter and old "junk." My father is a creative sort, also, always inventing & creating things. You need a supply of raw material for a creative mind, and the dump suited that requirement perfectly. Not to mention the supplies there were free. Can't beat that. Could be why we called it K-Mart....K-Mart stores in Canada were basically the same oas the US's Kresge stores. Many members of the community I live in now affectionately call the local landfill Wal-Mart. Weird, as much as things change, they stay the same.
Now, those were the days (Oh geeze, what the heck did I just say??? "Those were the days"??? I just realized I am getting old)....SO, that was when the majority of town's landfills still allowed some sort of salvage of whatever you wished to remove. Recycling at its BEST. These days, we are truly backwards in the broad thinking that once it is at the dump it should be left there, and buried. We fence them off with steel fencing, barbed wire strung across the top, as if we are protecting some sort of valuable commodity...well, actually, it is a valuable......oh cripes, there I go, off on a tangent again...I warn you, I tend to do this, so bear with me. In this case I could spout on and on about the virtues of recycling objects in general, but I will spare you the soapbox commentary...for now, anyway
The stuff I saw out at the dump...man, I wish I knew then what I know now! Anyway, I picked up whatever captured my fancy, within reason...as I still had to deal with my mother. I always seemed to be drawn to old things, though. Sure, some new thing that had some minor problem appealed a little, but the old stuff called to me....whispered furtively "please rescue me"...
So, I accumulated bits and pieces of "treasure". Stashed it here and there, used it for various creative projects, and displayed some of it in my room, decorated my "fort" in the back yard. Beginning of a hoarder? I hope not! Have too much experience with the results of hoarding, so I hope I have learned something . I have dug through countless piles of flotsam and jetsam, deposited as monuments to lifetimes spent saving every little thing....but, I am getting ahead of myself...I will leave those stories for later. We are talking about ME here, ya know!
So, back to my childhood. Say, you feeling like a shrink yet?
"Tell me about your mother."
Actually, I will tell you about a friend of mine who, as it turns out, unwittingly had a major effect on the direction my life has taken.
His name was Steven. Steve to his friends. Hmmm, you know, I haven't heard from him since I was, well, I don't know, maybe 10, or 11? His father was a constable with the RCMP, so they moved at some point in my elementary school career.
Steve and I were best friends. So, when he showed interest in one of a pair of decks of cards I was showing him, (which I had picked up at the dump, of course), I figured I'd just give the deck to him.
He refused to take it...that is, refused to take it for free.
He responded by forcing a quarter into my hand.
An entrepreneur was born!