Jello still creeps me out!

I know, our Grand Opening is tomorrow, and I should talk about that.  But, visit and you can get all the info on our new store that you need.

Right now, I am thinking about jello.  I don’t know why.  One moment ago I wasn’t.  And that, is how jello gets away with it, it is forgetably permanent!  Gets away with what?  Existing!  It doesn’t have anything flavor wise that can’t be reproduced in kool-aid, does it?  What the heck is it about the stuff?  It wiggles?

Before I go further, read this:

Alright, imagine this conversation, “Gee, Dad, the steak is still wiggling!”

“Yes, son, mighty fresh!”  Yeah, sure…it wiggles, great!

You can trap solid bits of food, like fruit, in it.  “Gee, Dad, sure glad we trapped that wiggling steak in the jello!”

“Yup, it can’t get away now son!”

Ever see the movie, “The Blob?”  But aside from that.  I didn’t read the history of jello either…so don’t feel bad if you skipped that part.  But it leaves me wondering, just who was picked to eat the stuff first? 

So, come to the Grand Opening of “Spirit of the Past Antiques”…no jello.



Busy day!

The last booth is rented.  A very nice lady came in, she and her husband have years of accumulation and feel it is time to let some things find a new home.  I believe this will be a common theme at  With our one month lease, and simple systems to rent display space, word is getting around that for a small fee folks can control the sell of their own items.

These aren’t dealers, but folks who prefer to let go at their own pace, avoiding an auction later.  They can bring in vintage and antique items and all have been more than understanding that we can’t sell everything…but the right things.

Even compared to an add in the paper, our prices aren’t much higher for an entire month!  And what I like most is that all these fine people, and this is the third I’ve signed up this way, plan to sell for a few months, and then will take what hasn’t sold and find a new avenue to liquidate.  It will keep our inventory fresh.

Along that note, and I don’t know if anyone else has tried this but I think it is a great idea, I signed up a fine young lady who does estate sales.  She has brought in three shelf units (15 shelves, 120 sq ft.) of merchandise from her last sale.  Instead of calling it quits after three days, she and the homeowners have agreed to a split of the sales, and she will allow us to sell the merchandise for a month!  We all win, the homeowners have longer to liquidate, she can earn money, and I earn money on the display space rental!

I watched what she brought in, and all fits the criteria of 30 years old or older…except for a few collectable pieces which I am not ashamed to display.  And once again, the merchanise has a shelf life before it is removed…keeping things…FRESH!

As we do this, I believe my estate sale lady will continue to rent shelves from other estates.

The one thing that concerns me, is keeping the store at a comfortable level of antique and vintage items.  At this point, it is looking pretty good.  I’ve seen much, much worse, and we are nowhere near what I would call a flea market.  In fact, I think we are turning into a pretty nice antique store!

With some exceptions.  Our photographer brought in some new artwork recently.  I was looking at some of her new work and was just stunned…wonderful!  We also brought in some books from a couple of local authors, to go with my sisters book which we will stock.  She is joining us for our Grand Opening and will be signing her books in the store!

So, our concept of Antiques, Artisans and Amazing Things continues to take shape!  I’m a little tired tonight, feeling good though, and can’t express how excited I am for the Grand Opening.


A story, "The Coonarac"

When I was a young boy, my parents would travel to Houston, Texas as often as they could to visit my sister.  I recall the trips fondly, Dad would select a different route each time, always looking to save an extra ten miles from the last trip.  This was the early 1960’s, and Eisenhower’s fine interstate system wasn’t entirely completed, so two lane roads, Highways, were still often the best way to travel.

It was on one such trip, on the way to Houston, that Dad led us deep into the Ozark Mountains!  What a great place.  The roads would wind up one big hill, down the next, and it took many more hours than Dad ever expected…but wasn’t it worth it for the scenery.  Even as a small boy I recognized we were somewhere special.  And, honestly, I don’t think many outsiders ventured into those hills too often.  This was well before Branson, Mo. became a tourist destination.  This was well before the United States became smaller because we all managed to shove ourselves into the same cookie cutter mold of fast food, fast travel, and fast paced life.

So, when it was well past time to eat and our stomachs were rumbling louder than the hard working engine of Dad’s Buick, Dad finally accepted that he could not will us out of those mountains and to Houston any quicker whether we ate now, or after we found flat ground.  Dad finally picked a cafe that met his approval.  It was a large addition on a house, just off the Hwy.  A fine example of ingenuity, “Honey, time to go to work!”, open a door and there you are in your cafe.

It was inside, while we ate, that the local folks would sneak an attempt at a glance at we strangers, try as they did, to do so without disturbing us.  But Dad was not fond of being among new people and not meeting them.  It wasn’t long before the cafe was loud with chatter and buzz among the men, while their wives glanced at each other and winked whenever their husbands would boast a complete lie or stretch the truth enough that it would beg to talk just to end the torture

Yes, Dad could get a room talking, comfortable, feeling like everyone in it was eating at the same table, when he felt like it.  And this cafe was comfortable with us enough that when we were ready to leave, the locals drew me into their fun and games.  As Dad was drawing a tip from his pocket, an older gentleman, slender and tanned as leather, turned his face towards me, “When you get on the road boy, watch out for the coonarac!”

“Huh?”, I educatedly responded as would any eight year old.  Then the men in the cafe had at me like a pack of wolves.

The man spoke again, “The coonarac, son!  Haven’t you heard of it?  It’s a critter that lives in these parts.  Watch out for it!”

Then a man thinner and taller, but white as a napkin entered his piece, “I live up the hill, boy.  I got them coonaracs living in my corn!  I hear them at night, in my tall corn.  They watch me.  They climb up on my roof and try to get into my attic!  They come up on my porch at night!  Watch out for ’em!”

I was getting a little scared.  Dad was deliberately letting them speak with me before he would pay the bill.  Dang it but he could have helped us escape, but he didn’t!

Finally, a man who I honestly can’t describe after all these years, except to say his voice was deep, southern and scary enough just by itself, slowly put the end to these warnings of this strange, horrific animal that I was well past beginning to fear, “The Coonrac, young child.  I spend nights in my cabin preparing my sermons for Sunday.  I speak my words aloud and with my candle I can see the glowing read eyes of the coonracs below my floorboards listening to the words.  I can see them, watching me, listening!”

Now Dad finally rose to pay, and I was inches behind him.  The first man grabbed my arm and I lurched a bit, “You scared laddie?”

I couldn’t make the words to answer.  “When you are in that car and traveling, just keep saying coonarac over and over, young man, and you’ll soon enough not be scared…if you trully listen to your own words.”

In the car, I did as the skinny old man said, and soon enough I wasn’t scared anymore.

Now, if you are reading this….say coonarac to yourself and see if you learn the mystery of why I was no longer scared of the mythical coonarac!  Try it!  COONARAC, COONARAC, COONARAC…

The moral is, always listen to your own words.

Dan  (Leave a comment…be the first to solve the riddle.  Good luck!)  That’s the Spirit!     

I’ve received some outstanding news!

As our preparations for the Grand Opening Weekend of July 1st thru 3rd continue, we had a most pleasant surprise!

My sister Betty, a published author, is coming to town for the opening and we have added a book signing to the events that weekend!  I’m not sure the times, or days, just yet, but Betty has been traveling the Midwest doing signings at bookstores, and we are lucky to have an opportunity to have her help us celebrate the beginning of the store!

Betty’s first book, “Is it Yet Tomorrow” began circulation last spring and has enjoyed critical success.  It is a semi-accurate account of the young life of our mother, who faced many challenges growing up, even surviving, as a little girl.  Betty is currently working on  a sequel, and persons I know who have read the book are anxious to see where she takes the story next.

Along with our antique dealers and artisans, it is neat to have Betty come in and combine her craft with the many fine products we have available. 

We’re constantly updating the website, and interested parties can view some new photos that we added last night.

Plans for the Grand Opening still include free samples of gem mine ore from Rose Creek Mine in North Carolina, snacks, drinks, and a ribbon cutting with the Pekin Chamber of Commerce at 9:30 am Friday July 1st!  It is turning into an eventful three days, and I’m sure everyone will have a great time!

All I can add is, “That’s the Spirit!


A kitten shows up at our door

A sign, cats are pretty smart about finding good sources of food, shelter, and servants…I mean, owners.  No, servants.

As I was sitting in the store on a slow day, which is going to happen for awhile no matter much of a hurry I’m in, I received a phone call.  Step-daughter Jen, visiting from California, has captured a kitten in need of a home.  We have three cats already, and recently Debi and I determined that three are enough.

Our local shelter was kind enough to offer to take the kitten, after a two month waiting list.  For a shelter, that’s pretty good.  As I said, cats are pretty smart about finding, etc,etc, and the shelter must have a very good reputation among cats to enjoy such full capacity use!  Now, don’t tell me the cats didn’t mean to go there, it is a good place, a no-kill shelter and I’ve seen it.  If I were a cat, well, I can only hope to attain such a high rank, but if I were a cat I wouldn’t mind three hots and a cot at our shelter! 

But here was this kitten that had obviously determined it wanted to live in our home.  Simply showing up at the door would never have earned it welcome.  We know cats, we know what they are up to, we know about their rears forcing us to move at night so they can take the best part of the bed.  We know they wait until we get up to take the warmest cushion on the couch, and pretend to not understand they should move when we return.

So what does this kitten do to gain entrance into the home?  It picks on Jen and her children.  The soft hearted persons who have no concern if Dan and Debi already have three cats, or thirty!  And it coils its way into those soft hearts and thru them finds itself in our home and watching as they do its dirty work.  Can it stay?  Can it stay?  Can it stay?

No, of course it can.  The battle was lost when the phone rang.  But, I put as much effort into sounding determined to say no as I could.  So later when someone complains that it just stole their pork chop, or a ring went missing just after the cat walked by, or we get cold at night in the winter because now we have four cats to cover up the vents…well, I can claim I never wanted it in the first place.

But, I did, I always do, because no matter how tough I try to act, I’m excited to watch the antics of another bigshot in the house, despite knowing it puts the rest of us still lower on the list of who is really in charge.

Besides, like I said, cats are pretty smart about finding good sources of food, shelter, etc, etc, and if the kitten thinks our house is going to be a good place to live..even with us starting up “Spirit of the Past Antiques”, even if it is a slow day at the store, I guess it’s a good sign.  The cat seems to think things are going to work out pretty good!  And cats are smart about things like that.

I hope things work out quickly…because I would like to earn some money so I can send step-daughter Jen from California a cat or two a month for a couple years, just spread the love around.



Tuesday and the second week starts!

I picked up a third spinning wheel today before opening the store!  All three are nice antiques, and when I placed them together on display it was visually stunning.  Been telling people that ask that I’m planning to start a yarn spinning “club”.

I arrived at the store about an hour early and did some cleaning and organizing.  I have found a nice way to take pictures and while some have made it to the website, many more are on the way.  A new video as well.

When I opened, the rush of people started.  We were busy all day, one customer responded to the Craigslist ad I placed and purchased a vintage Barbie, then went on to purchase more items from two other vendor booths.  It is the exact response I was hoping for with the get people in and then let the store do the selling.  I know she was happy with her finds, and I hope she will become a regular customer.

We are down to one booth left to rent.  Two more dealers set up today, the store is looking good.  I also rented a shelving unit and had many inquiries about rental space.

I also started something new I’m calling “Bundle Bundle Bundle”.  If a customer buys an item with a “Spirit of the Past Antiques” tag (those are our own items) I’m offering to take 20% off the price in immediate store credit towards the purchase of anything else in the store!  I had one customer take advantage of it today, they bought a $25.00 item of ours…and then picked out a $5.00 item from another dealer.  I took $5.00 off my item and they got both for 25.00!

It isn’t really a discount so to speak…as $25.00 was still spent.  It is just a way to share sales with the dealers…which of course is my #1 job, to help the dealers get their products sold.  So, it cuts into my markup…no big deal.

Comments about the store are still very positive, one person commented on the cleanliness of the bathrooms, which was very appreciated…it isn’t a fun job.  Others mentioned the good lighting, the easy to navigate aisles, no complaints!  It was also fun to see the dealers setting up before the Grand Opening Weekend.

One sad note, well, two.  We had a tree “limb” break and damage our roof this morning.  I was at the store and it scared the folks at home pretty bad.  But, that’s what insurance is for and repairs are commencing already.  And, I met someone who is from my hometown and we chatted for quite awhile.  Sadly, he’d recently lost a good friend from there..and it turned out to be someone who attended my first wedding, went to my church, and was a family friend of my parents.  I felt tears coming as we talked, tried to hide it.  the thought of so many folks gone from my hometown, I felt the many days that have passed since I was a child weighing on me.

I can keep these precious objects from our past safe until they find a good home…but I can’t stop the hands of time and the loss of those who were a part of my own past.