On Saturday my SO (Significant Other) and I trekked to Monroe, Washington for the bi-annual mega swap meet held at the Fairgrounds.
We have gone to this event religiously, twice a year, for over fifteen years – our jaunts coming to a screeching halt three years ago when his mother had a debilitating stroke (coincidentally, the day after our last expedition three years ago this same weekend). His mother unfortunately passed away three weeks ago. We have spent the last 20 days kind of faltering around with our new freedom, not quite knowing how to spread our wings and fly. So Friday night we decided we would make it a day trip to Monroe, leaving at 4:00 in the morning.
Our trip was uneventful (which is great news for us because we have Murphy's Law happening on our road trips – another story). We arrived at about 8:45 and parked our car out in the toolies and trudged our way into the Evergreen Fairgrounds and acres upon acres of car and truck parts. This is a died-and-gone-to-Heaven experience for any motor head, of which my SO is right there in front of the pack.
My SO has approximately 26 classic cars in varying stages of disrepair that he says are "project" cars, and they are stored in many areas in Spokane, including my house, his house, his mother's house, the family's barn, and a couple friends' houses. When we go to swap meets, he has in mind all 26 cars in the hopes of finding that one particular missing piece/part for that particular car. So we are walking along and from a distance his eyes pop out and he drools and chants "I spy a 55 part…." And all I see are indistinguishable parts covered in black, sticky oil, dirt, and grass. He sees a polished, shiny, smooth piece of a part that will eventually be a front bumper for a 55 Dodge Coronet.
The day was sunny and hot, hot, HOT. On the average our voyages to the Monroe Swap Meet are challenges in the weather. I have a gear bag just for Monroe which is filled with coats, sweaters, rain jackets, ear muffs, gloves, umbrellas, and hand warmers - because it is usually very cold, damp, cloudy, and just plain miserable – raining or showering constantly as we walk up and down all the hearty, die-hard vendors and their goods that they painstakingly loaded into their trucks and then unloaded onto their little square "booth" on wet soggy grass or asphalt (good in the rain if you have a tarp for a shelter; bad on hot days when the tar gets stuck to your shoes). Normally, we will stand at the car and put on layers of clothing, hats, gloves, umbrellas, and I carry a tote bag (for goodies – but also for cast off clothes as the day warms up). As we are walking along – I am vividly aware that I, as the female of this duo, am also the pack mule – my tote bag fills up with this bit and that bit and I pray that all the bits are small bits. Once I had to drag a crank shaft back to the car because it wouldn't fit in my tote bag and I'll be damned if I was going to lug that greasy ugly thing around the fairgrounds for the entire day. As we warm up, he'll take off a shirt and I'll tie it around my waist, and then I'll take off a coat and wrap that around my waist, and I have done this to the point that I had six whatever-it-takes-to-keep-warm garments wrapped around my waist so that I looked as round as I am tall (5'2"). Eventually I crawl back to the car and unwrap myself.
There are miles of "booths" set up in a convoluted curly-q pattern in and around the Fairgrounds and my SO will eyeball each and every booth – looking for THAT part. I slowly lumber behind him, getting heavier and heavier after each booth. I have done this for years now and have finally discovered something wonderful at the Fairgrounds. In the middle of the Fairgrounds are several buildings and most of the booths surround these buildings – and inside the buildings are coveted booths of long-time vendors where they are guaranteed shelter from the weather, be it cold or hot. More importantly, for me anyway, in the buildings will be wives of motor heads selling their wares which include collectibles (bottles, Betty Boop, Coca Cola memorabilia, and glassware). Now I'm a nut for glassware, children's tea sets, and Betty Boop – so I will follow the SO for a couple hours and then when we finally get into the area along side the buildings, I make my escape. I have figured out that I can leave him drooling over some (fill in Chevrolet, Dodge, Chrysler, Ford, but never ever Buick) part, duck into a building, wander around and scope all the tables and find treasures just for me and come back out the building a door down from where I entered and, viola! SO hasn't moved a foot! Once I despaired of ever finding him again among the throngs of people milling around booths and tables – he is not distinctive – he's a large man with white hair wearing a plaid lumberjack shirt – and that describes about 2,000 guys milling around one booth. I can look right at him and lose him. But for some reason, God smiles on me if I go into a building; my SO sticks to the pavement where I left him. Never fails.
We did this for about eight hours, collected our stash and went back to the car and headed home, arriving at 10:00 Saturday night.
It's good to be back in the living again!