I finally got up the nerve to do it. I took my banjo to the Pickens Flea Market and joined the Musician’s Circle, led by mountain man Robert Perry. It was an incredible experience.
It was a spectacular Wednesday morning. I’d been doing yard work all week, and needed to escape. That seemed like the perfect time for a trip to the Pickens Flea Market. This time, rather than carry cameras, I had a backpack loaded with audio recording gear.
Apparently everyone in Pickens County had the same idea as me. I had planned to get there around 8:00, but Highway 183 from Greenville to Pickens was a zoo, and traffic was clogged headed through the town and out to the flea market. Eventually, though, I did get a nice, shaded parking space, and set out to explore.
Glynda has been recovering from surgery, and is making great progress. For the first time in ages she had energy to get out and about and explore, so she suggested that we go to the regular Wednesday gathering at the Pickens Flea Market. It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day, so who was I to say no?
We left out early and arrived at the flea market shortly after 8:00 am. Even at that time there were already crowds gathered. We wandered among the booths and looked at the goods. Since I’d had success with my 35mm lens on yesterday’s Earth Day trek, I decided to use it here, too. I had my Panasonic as a backup.
For the most part it was the same old same old. There were the random collections of antiques, toys, bottles, etc. etc. I noticed that a lot of my shots are starting to look the same. It’s hard to find something unique.
On my recent trip to North Carolina I stopped by Smiley’s Flea Market. I had wanted to visit, but for one reason or another had never gotten here early enough, or when I wasn’t in a rush to get somewhere else. So on Saturday I added another flea market to my list.
Smiley’s actually has three locations – this one on Fletcher, one in Macon, Georgia, and one in Micanopy, Florida (where ever the heck that is.) This one seemed fairly large, but not as big as the Anderson Jockey Lot or the Pickens Flea Market. It’s about the same size at the Augusta Road market.
As mentioned in my last post, i didn’t take the big camera in. I did, however, take the LX-5 and one other tool. I had my iPhone set to take one shot every 5 seconds as I walked around with it on my belt. I would see what I would capture.
Many years ago, when I was still in school, my father took me to the Pickens Flea Market. I don’t remember much about that trip, but I do remember the location in a prime piece of bottom land next to the Twelve Mile River. At the time it seemed like just a lot of junk to me.
As an adult, my flea market aficionado friend, Paul W., has been saying that we need to get over to the Pickens Flea Market. Unfortunately, it’s only open on Wednesdays, which is very inconvenient for those of us that have to work during the week. Since this is my spring break, my sister Glynda and I decided to head up that way and see what it was like.
There was dense fog in Greenville as we headed out. However, the sun broke through and the fog began to lift just as we pulled into the market parking lot. The place opens at 7:00 and we were arriving at 8:30. Crowds were already gathering.
As with most flea markets in the area, there are covered areas where the more permanent vendors set up and there are rows and rows of open air tables. Unlike the Anderson Jockey Lot, none of the covered areas are enclosed. Typical flea market ware can be found as soon as you enter the vendor areas.
The market has a completely different vibe than the Jockey Lot. Even though it’s still a cool place to visit, the Jockey Lot seems to have a layer of tourist trap country junk polish. Strip away that polish and you get the Pickens Flea Market. The place seems more authentic. Mountain folk come down from the hills to buy, sell and trade their wares. For some, the mountain persona is an affectation. For some, it is truly the way they are. Either way, it’s a fascinating venue for seeing all sorts of people.
Paul and I made our annual trek to the Anderson Jockey Lot. We always try to take a newbie with us – someone not yet immersed in southern flea market culture. Lately this has been a new faculty member at Furman, and this year was no different. Karen Buckmeuller was our victim this time. She couldn’t convince her new husband, Herman Holt, to come along with us. Several others were also supposed to go with us, but wimped out, too.
As I’ve learned, the denizens of the Jockey Lot get very nervous around cameras, and with good reason. We saw several less-than-legal items for sale. I was still able to snap a few shots, though. Most useful was the little Sansa Clip recorder. I clipped it to my shirt and left it recording the entire time we were there. I got some fascinating conversations. I’ve edited it down to the best clips and added a little background music, then posted it to Boomp3.com. It’s about six minutes long.
In this audio clip, you will here the following, in order:
- Question about the price of a Megatron helmet
- Haggling over the sale of a car
- A discussion about a breed of dog
- The benefits of using fake security cameras
- A bird saleslady
- A call to repentance for stealing cars
- A discussion of spicy pickled tomatoes
- How society has been destroyed
- The problems with Dale Earnhardt candles and Teresa Earnhardt
- Good beans
- Night blooming plants
- A rooster crowing
- Another dog salesman
- And finally, selling big time
There were several more conversations I would have loved to have captured.