Sunday, February 27, 2011

Journal of a Living Lady #392

Nancy White Kelly

My life has been an adventure. Easily bored and ready for new challenges, I amaze myself at the places I land and why. Recently I received a request from the Chamber of Commerce to be the resident numismatic scholar for a week-end antique road shop in Greenville. Someone from our local coin club had recommended me.

I was delighted to be invited. Meals, lodging and even a paycheck made this gig appear more like an all-expense paid mini-vacation for Buddy and me.

Buddy’s mockingly gruff pretense, often repeated to our friends, is that he must accompany me on these trips to protect me from robbers, dirty old men, and myself.

Reality is that he is gets anxious about being alone. Buddy is a people person who is not very good company to himself. Whatever the real reason, I need his help and it is a win-win situation for us both. I get a body-guard who loves me. For three days straight. He gets uninterrupted companionship with his wedded wife.

Silly me just assumed the antique show was in Greenville, South Carolina, which is only a half-day drive from our home. How surprised I was to see TN in the address of the brochure. Even though I am a native Tennessean, I had never heard of the town.
Greenville, TN was difficult to find on our old map which was relegated to our library shelf long ago. With GPS, it is seldom used. With internet research I discovered there were 30 towns in the United States named Greenville.

To my rescue came Buddy, once a private pilot, who still knows how to read hieroglyphics on maps. He found the tiny speck called G’ville. (Okay, I’m a private pilot too, but I like for my man to feel needed and superior.)

Greenville seemed an unlikely location for what was expected to be a major event, especially since last year’s antique road show drew 5,000 attendees. The show was located in the two-level, high school gymnasium. The bottom floor was lined with at least a hundred tables laden with every type of antique and craft imaginable.
The appraisal floor was up-stairs where people lined up in the early a.m. to purchase five-dollar tickets for an appraisal. They were directed to the appropriate appraiser. The funniest sight was a little lady in a power wheel chair pulling a piece of furniture on a rope.

From eight in the morning until near dark, scores of people waited their turn at the appraisal tables. In brief spells between customers, I made my way through the crowd to see what others had brought. Just as expected, there were items of obvious value; others could have easily come from the local dump. Among the items were pottery, guns, jewelry, a plow and a few rusty bird cages.

Many left the show disappointed. Some elated. Others just enjoyed the camaraderie and had the philosophy, “Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.”

The most interesting thing that came through my line was an authentic CSA buckle that the owner, a middle-aged man, had personally unearthed in his backyard while digging a garden. Since the buckle was not related to coins, I referred him to another appraiser I had met. The owner left smiling. I would have too. It was well worth $1000 for its provenance and condition.

We are home now. Buddy is happy. I am happy. Now, you readers be happy and slap all the bad news you hear today.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Journal of a Living Lady #391

Nancy White Kelly

Charlie, Tori, Micah and Noah are on an early spring break at Disneyworld. By default, and because nobody else volunteered, Buddy and I are the caretakers of their two dogs: Patch and Snickers. It is a full house considering we also have our cat, Sam, Patch, our rowdy dachshund, Red, the roster and his harem, as well as a leopard gecko named Lizzie. To be truthful, Buddy requires more attention that all the animals together. He requires three feedings a day and refuses to eat dog chow or meal worms. That complicates matters.

The gecko was meant to be a surprise gift for Micah, our five-year-old grandson, Micah is high-functioning autistic. This neurological disorder is characterized by many symptoms including obsessiveness. When Micah was a toddler, he was fascinated with little cars. We thought nothing of it until he became highly frustrated if the Hot Wheels were not in perfect alignment. He kept his wheeled treasures grouped by color and size. At first we thought this was cute, a hint of organization skills that we hoped would continue into adulthood.

Micah’s enthrallment with little cars changed to inhabitants of nature. His first interest was dinosaurs which he could name by species and identify as carnivorous or herbivore. Then lizards became his focus.

I bought Micah a picture book of lizards. One wasn’t enough. Eventually he acquired a dozen or more books and reptile magazines. He became an amusing, walking encyclopedia of lizard facts and trivia.

For his birthday, Charlie and Tori bought ecstatic Micah a young bearded dragon that ate tiny crickets. Little Spike grew and grew and grew. It seemed that overnight Spike was longer than Micah’s arm.

One lizard wasn’t enough. Micah did extra chores to earn the money to buy a couple of smaller, less exciting lizards. They ate and pooped, but not much else. When Micah complained to me that the new lizards, actually newts, were quiet and boring, I made a secret trip to the pet store and bought Lizzie. She was a thin and tiny, no longer than my pinkie finger. My plan was to keep her until she was large enough to withstand handling by Micah and younger brother, Noah.

Lizzie first need was a glass cage with a screened top and a special heat lamp. Since she was fragile and would not eat on her own, I hand-fed her. With no role model, it took Lizzie several weeks to figure out that her tongue was an instrument to capture surprised crickets that no longer stayed around to be her playmates.
By winter it was time for Granny to surprise Micah with a friendly, healthy Lizzie. Unfortunately, I had failed to tell Charlie and Tori about my good intentions. Neither was thrilled. Tori had grown quite tired of being Spike’s daily custodian and Charlie was weary of the never-ending need for crickets by the dozen. Spike was now longer than Charlie’s arm.

To my chagrin, Lizzie was rejected. Thus, she is a semi-permanent addition to the Kelly Sr. household, at least until we can find another child who is fascinated with leopard geckos. Who knows? Maybe she could take acting lessons and hawk cheap car insurance?