Wednesday, November 13, 2013

For those of you who read our Cathie Cox "Sincerely Vintage" column on line, here it is.  Watch for a new Sincerely Vintage column each month in the NEW CENTURY COLLECTOR .
Nebraska.  The Cornhusker State.   Home to mile-long freight trains, farmhouses with white picket fences,  Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, Kool-Aid (which was ­developed in Hastings in 1927 when the soft drink syrup “Fruit Smack” was changed into a powder, making it easier to ship), Johnny Carson, cornfields (er, make that LOTS of cornfields), and the “Junk Jaunt .”   This would be the romantic event my sweetheart and I went to, to celebrate our    anniversary.
Now, stop shaking your head.  After all, we did think of a few other vacation options.  A   cottage on the Oregon coast would’ve been nice.  One problem though.  Not being ones to plan far in advance, have you ever tried to book a cottage on the coast three weeks before you go?  And besides, what would we do?  I can’t sit still for more than about ten minutes. One of my husband’s most charming qualities is his desire to make me happy.  So when I suggested that we go to Nebraska for our anniversary – our 25th no less – and go junking, he agreed, albeit just a tad reluctantly.  So we rented a toy hauler trailer and a-camping we went, in search of good junk in the middle of the Heartland at over 600 yard sales during Nebraska’s 10th annual Junk Jaunt.
 The Junk Jaunt is a three-day, 300-mile event in a teardrop-shaped loop with Grand Island at the bottom and the 35 participating towns in a circle above it.  Each town was from five to 30 miles apart with populations ranging from 70 to 3500.  Places with names like           Dannebrog. . . Ord. . . Broken Bow. . . and Cairo (pronounced Care-oh).  That’s where we started.  We went to check out Cairo the night before it all began, only to find out it had   begun.  Mike Stutzman, Cairo vendor #2, was brightly lit and open for business that warm September evening and he was selling junk fast.  Hmm, what to choose?  Vintage bikes, more than 20 of them.  Little red wagons, several.  Farm junk, LOTS.  Bike baskets, all bent which-ways.  License plates, wood doors, knives, stools, pedal cars, enamel signs, milk cans, more farm junk.  I’m telling you right now, this is junking heaven. . . .
The Junk Jaunt organizers have been around the yard-sale-block a time or two.  These folks know how to throw a sale.  The piece-de-resistance – for just $10 (shipping included) you can get “Nebraska’s Junk Jaunt Shopper Guide,” a 136-page booklet listing every vendor who is registered as an official seller along with what they are selling.  Here are a few    sample listings:
 Billy & Beth Adams (Merna vendor #11).  E. Ewing Ave.  Fri-Sat 8A-6P; Sun8A-4P. Antique doors, screen doors, barn doors, barn siding, architectural  salvage, tools, car parts, claw foot tub, repurposed salvage, shelves, wooden boxes, old beds, table, old cabinets.
   Junk and Stuff (Burwell vendor #12).  S. Hwy. 11/Rodeo Grounds   Fri, Sat & Sun 8A-???  Glassware, dolls, toys, wheels, farm primitives, tools, kitchen utensils, hoe-wheels, disks, blades, seed sacks.
We stopped by Junk and Stuff – a.k.a. Edgar and Ellen – first thing Saturday morning.  They were busy pouring icy water out of every item that could hold water since it had rained two inches the night before.  Their hands were freezing, but they were not ones to complain.  Instead they smiled and chatted and gave us good deals on farm junk and some restaurant ware dishes.  And on a pair of Edgar’s lined leather mittens since my hands were freezing too.  And they invited us to come back and see them again – and they truly meant it. . . .
As the weekend wore on our trailer filled up and our gas mileage went down.  We passed on lots of amazing primitives because the price tags were too steep.  But we did buy from Mary Fite at the Burwell Rodeo Grounds, whose vintage dresses were $3 each.  We bought from Jackie Mason in Mason City, who gave us the shelf off her kitchen window sill for $8.  We bought from a grundle of other friendly Nebraskans, too – all who loved to chat.  Here’s a partial list of what we bought:
Rotary hoe wheels, baby buggy wheels, and a bike wheel.  A hat box, a green metal box, two refrigerator boxes, a divided wood box, a cottage cheese box, a couple of rusty boxes, and a box of watch parts.  A small wood table, a wood spindle frame, a bunch of chippy wood chairs, a folding wood yard stick, and a wood duck (er, a wooden duck).  A red metal tool box, a red strainer, a red sand shovel, a red “Icy- Hot” Thermos, and two red kitchen stools.  Some blue canning bottles with zinc lids, a couple of wind-up clocks, a bike basket,  a fence gate, some antlers, corset lacing, a leisure suit, a rusty Radio Flyer and some windmill blades.  And there’s more.  Lots more totally delicious junk. . .
Did we make it to all the sales we wanted to go to?  Goodness, no.  Did we have fun?  Oh my, yes.  Would we do it again, you ask? Why yes, I think we would.  Actually, we’ve  already made our reservations for next year. . . .
                                             Sincerely, Cathie


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