Inside the threshold of my front door sits an antique wicker rocker. Its body is solid as a tank. A stout farm woman. Boxy bottom, firm legs, back barely curved for ideal comfort. I found this gem in Illinois at the annual Steam Show held in Jacksonville. Several acres of small rolling hills, a field to plow with horses and a parking lot, mud when it rains. A huge barn sits center where the quilters set up, former stalls hold wares and homemade goods of jellies, canned vegetables, crafts handmade from locals and a kitchen that serves ham and beans and cornbread at noon.
On my visits in the fall, my parents, my son and husband and brother and his family traipse through table after table and small vendor tents of every new and old item to be found within 1,000 miles and 150 years. This particular year was pleasant, no rain, no mud and the sun broke through the autumn sky’s to lie upon us.
We approached this amazing hodge-podge through the Threshing Building and unto the grounds of vendors when I spotted a flat bed wagon with ‘stuff’. Big ‘stuff’. As in trunks, furniture pieces, cellar finds or barn finds. I noted a worn out black wicker rocker and took a closer look. The fabric was rain stained, thin, worn threadbare, but the piece itself was in perfect condition. No cracks, no breaks and the wicker rope totally intact. I walked on through the waves and willows of tables, and my mind kept drifting back to that wagon with that wicker rocker. By the time we had walked miles in a circle, bought sorghum, ate ham and beans, I was ready to go back to that wagon to buy me a chair. My mind was made up.
A small travel trailer was parked alongside, a wicky–up tied to it for shade, more boxes and crates scattered around with ‘stuff’ on and in all of them. I stood at the wicker rocker and found a tag with faded pen ink which read $75. Giving it another look over, I then ask the first person I saw if this was his ‘stuff’.
“Naw, it’s his.” He pointed to the little travel trailer. A tall lean man soon stepped out wearing a beard, straw hat, bib overalls with no shirt underneath. I walked over to him and said, “Is that your stuff?” and pointed to the flat bed wagon.
“Is that your rocker?”
I fingered the $50 dollar bill in my pocket and looked him in the eye.
“You take a $50 dollar bill for that rocker?” And held the bill in front of him.
“Uh-uh. Today is a good sale on that chair.” I handed him the fifty and motioned to my husband to help me get the chair off the wagon. He rolled his eyes up until they disappeared in his hairline and came over to help.
“What do you want with that old thing?”
“How are we going to get this back home?”
“In our truck of course. Why do you think we come back to Illinois in a truck?”
Now it was my turn to role my eyes upward. Sheesh.