"A DEPARTMENT STORE"
Here's a photograph from back in the 90s when we one day had a tag sale (the only one) and put out all sorts of stuff. Like typical gypsies we loaded the truck and drove up the road a short ways and found a friend who gave us an open space, and we unloaded the truck and put the belongings for sale (or give away) all onto the truck or around the truck and made a general fair day of it all. We remember a handful of woods neighbors showed up for it and took away some things. It was really the fun of it. Our dog Bo was alive and he was there. Our son Carson was maybe 10 years old and he helped decorate the truck. I see many of the kids books he didn't want any longer (moving up in his reading) are on display. A colorful bunch of regular books are there, too, always good to have around.
And then Sweetheart noticed some of our wedding gift kitchen dishes are on the roof of the truck. Wedding dishes? Sure enough. It might be making sense that when a friend told us recently, and not at all kindly, that we run "a department store", he might have something there. Of course if it is a department store, it's a department store with lasting cheer and all are welcome. In the one we sponsor today — just grown up a bit from that little-pickup-truck-that-could with its books and dishes — it has spread around into three buildings, and mainly books...with a little music and cinema, and lots of poetry published in small printed booklets always meant to give away to friends and friends of friends.
By the way, this pickup truck, some years later, was sold to a Vietnam vet with one leg and lots and lots of wanting this truck. We bought it long ago from a friend for $900 and the cap came with it. The truck was loaded with pig manure when we came to buy it. Wet and heavy, so we knew the springs were good. We knew the truck wasn't fussy. It was German built. We later taught our son how to drive the truck, standard. He figured it out in about a day. I taught him by driving it in a field with him, round & round. Then we took off down the back road along the river.
I believe all the books in this photograph sold or were given away. I don't see them around here anymore. On the back tailgate are boxes and crates of old LPs, pretty good stuff. They were going for $1 each. A guy came out from town and took them all away, paid us $100 and he got much more than 100 LPs. He had a treasury chest record store in town filled to the ceiling with vintage LPs costing way too much and a bear to go through, but on a rainy day you could have some kicks in there dreaming and talking the usual nonsense with another dreamer. Then his place burned down when the apartment complex above him burned up, and a freezing middle of the night downtown fire was put out with gusto by a local team. All the fire and all the water came rushing into this guy's dreamland. The shop had one of those attractive metal ceilings scalloped and styled like a bakery cake. It still hurts when I see him.
photo © susan arnold