This week I made my last pilgrimage to the Brimfield Antique Fair for the year and celebrated my tenth straight year of attending after moving back home to Massachusetts. Over the last ten years I have walked the fields with my coworkers, friends, my children but usually by myself. After all these years I have a system, I park in the same place (at the church on the hill), kindly refuse the map offered as I pay for parking and load my cart with the essentials, tote bag, blanket and a bottle of seltzer water. As I weave my way through the tents I recognize vendors, their dogs and their "dogs" that didn't sell months earlier at the last show. Over those ten years I have walked over 300 miles through those fields in 90 degree blazing heat, in torrential downpours and beautiful spring weather, all in the search of a treasure.
Just as I have changed over the last ten years, so has Brimfield. There are more vendors with boxes with import labels stacked behind their tents, the men from Mali with their stacks and stacks of unique mud cloths in all shades of cobalt and rows and rows of colorful beads. There's the cowhide guys, from which I have purchased a few and this year, the bamboo pillow/sheet guy. Walking by him and hearing his spiel, it reminded me of the Vitamix sales rep at Costco, making me cringe, however those rolled up pillows could be seen under people arms throughout the show, ugh.
I visited my fisherman friend from Nova Scotia from whom I seem to always find a treasure. This time I bought a charming fisherman's sign and an 18 foot long American flag which once hung from the side of a navy ship. What am I going to do with an 18 foot flag? I have no idea, but like all of my finds, I had to have it. We talked about his five wives and he complimented me on my gold catboat necklace. "I used to have a few of those" he said with a smile. In July I met a vendor selling rugs, from which I bought a sisal stair runner for the Cape house for great price. I sought him out again, hoping to purchase another one to replace the first once the sand from several summers starts to show years from now. He recognized me, made me a great deal and we ended up talking for a while. His name is Wyatt and he looks like a "Wyatt" and sounds like a "Wyatt", his grey braided ponytail far longer than mine. Wyatt is from Fairfield Connecticut and told me he lost ten pounds during the July show in part to the heat and in part to the fact he was alone and couldn't leave his tent to go get food.
Ah yes, the food. There is some amazing food at Brimfield. When Ellie is with me, it is our tradition to share an order of handcut fries and I may have had one or two cider donuts over the years, hot from the fryer. The line for a "Pilgram Sandwich" is always long no matter the size of the crowds and new food trucks offer up everything from sausages to Pad Thai. As they say, there's something for everyone.
So I will store my cart in the garage until May. I will miss the people watching, the outfits and the porters with their phone numbers scrawled in Sharpie across their chests. I will not miss those who try to take advantage of being at Brimfield by asking for ridiculous prices or the sweltering heat in July....but will I be back next July, of course I will and I will fill my cart with new treasures.