Sunday, March 20, 2011

Laurel Flea Market

The Laurel Flea Market, Sunday March 20, 2011

Today I thought I would dip my toe in quintessential southern (Sussex County) Delware culture and visit the Laurel Flea Market.  You know the old adage 'The best intentions....etc?'  Well, it didn't go well.

To get to the Laurel Flea Market from our house on the East side of Route 1 to Laurel, Delaware; one drive down Rt. 9, through Georgetown (and THAT circle) and continues on Rt. 9 for about 28 miles.  Yes, a long drive.  Not only is Laurel a long way away from where we live but it is another whole culture.  
This pooch obviously didn't want to be at the flea market today

In Sussex County, Delaware there are two distinct cultures.  The first culture is the one that Bill and I and all of the thirty-eight occupants of our development represent.  Most of us are either retirees, transplanted from another state, or second home owners who escaped to Delaware to enjoy their senior friendly low taxes, mild winters and the slower placed coastal life style.  Most of us 'Transplanters' live on the East side of Route 1 or just over the other side of Route 1.  Yes, we HUG Route 1.  Granted, some of us venture farther into Redneck County, aka as the real Sussex County but those are a few, brave hardy souls, mostly butch lesbians and deeply in the closet older gay men who don't want to be identified with the out gay men who live in the Rehoboth Beach/Lewes/Milton area of southern Delaware.  

Somewhere in this conglomeration there is a treasure...I know it!

Occasionally we on THIS side of Route 1 venture into the REAL Sussex County, albeit at our own risk.  Today was such a day.  I felt like taking a ride to lighten my mood after the depressing events of this past Friday night, of which I wrote about in a previous blog.  I thought it would be nice to take a nice Sunday Ride and visit the Laurel Flea Market.  Bill likes to poke around and look for bargains and I like to take picture of the Local Folks.  Uh huh.  

Blankets and perfume stand - can't miss!

So I decide I don't want to go through Georgetown and I take a back road.  As a matter of fact I took a lot of back roads.  A LOT.  I ended up on Zoar Road, past the prison (always a fun ride on a Sunday) and we finally ended up on Rt. 9 which was where I should have stayed all the time.  Bill and I can't take a lot of riding in the car.  I'm actually more patient than Bill.  Bill especially doesn't like to be trapped (his words) in a car when the driver (that would be me) doesn't know where he's going. 

Bill is overwhelmed with the selection

So we arrived at the Laurel Flea Market and Bill was in a sour mood.  In fact he was in his Crotchety Old Man Mood.  Think Wilfred Brimley constipated for a week.  When Bill gets in these moods he goes into his Back Seat Drive Mode telling me how to drive.  Big mistake.  Only one of us can drive the car at a time.  Can you see where this train is heading? I've seen this movie before and it never ends well.  

One thing about the original Sussex County Guys, they may not have all their teeth but some of them are hunky studs - WOW!

So I park while Bill is grumbling and barking at me.  We get and are immediately assaulted by the Other Culture.  I'm always amazed that I'm amazed at the stark contrast between Us and Them.  For one thing most of them are missing significant amounts of teeth.  Another thing, the woman and men talk LOUD.  They also talk with a unique mixture of southern accent mixed with a faux Appalachian accent.  You've never heard anything like it before in your life.  

Oh yes, you can eat at the flea market too - if you get there early in the morning you can be serenaded by a Dolly Parton/Willie Nelson duo sing-a-like - you DON'T want to miss that - they're up in a bird's nest over the 'dining area'

So we're perusing the outside tables in the too chilly air, not blending in at all, looking at the junk on those same tables.  And I mean JUNK.  This stuff is for sale!  The stuff we saw at the thrift stores yesterday was in better condition that these dirty, torn and tattered remnants of a hard scrabble life that these people apparently live.  This is what poverty looks like, big time.  I felt like a rich man (which I'm not) slumming amount the Great Unwashed Mass.  And here I am with my iPhone taking pictures, trying not to be too noblesse oblige.  

Moi feeling vastly superior taking a photo of the Local Folk

I took my pictures, Bill took some pictures of me, and then we got the hell out of there.  The ride home was uneventful.  I stayed on Rt. 9, and yes, through the Georgetown Circle which was actually nothing on this Sunday.  So all my 'back road' travel was for naught.  All we accomplished was touring the back roads of Sussex County.  We did see a lot of new chicken houses though.

Do I look out of place or do I fit in?

Bill says the next time he's driving.  


  1. Ron, although I'm trying to get rid of everything that I own, I do love flea markets. In fact, that's where most of the things in my house come from.
    Also, after our visit with you last week, I did receive an email. I won't tell who sent it to me but it did mention that you almost got into a car crash. Once again, I won't give up my source but I do find him reliable.
    Your Friend, m.

  2. Mark,

    Bill loves flea markets and thrift stores. He finds a lot of good stuff there. I even found some good stuff yesterday at our weekly Thrift Store Tour. Yes, last week I almost caused an head on crash because I fell asleep at the wheel. It was a near miss. Bill woke me up just in time. Seconds made the difference. If he wasn't watching where I was going we would have ended up in a bad accident. I have to get more sleep.

  3. I think it's time you posted a video blog so we can check out your accent. How else can we answer your question about whether we think you fit in with the flea market crowd?

  4. Anonymous11:07 PM

    I think you fit right in Ron as you are wearing a cap just like the farmers & rednecks. I laughed all the way thru your post. If you had ventured north on 13 in front of the flea market & made one turn in about 6 miles you would have been at my house & 1 mile from the MD line. You could have had lunch with us!!!
    I only go to the flea market to visit Grandma's Attic on the front north end. I also love thrift stores and have been to two in the shopping center where Betty's restaurant is. Btw, that's a great place to eat. I'm going to have to go back to your area so I can visit the others. You never did say if you found any treasures.


  5. oooh i luv flea markets - if only to watch everybody
    But I make SOmeone stop whenever I see one , so I can fill up the trunk with unnecessary plastic objects.

  6. Ron,

    That is some flea market. It looks more permanent than some. Is it just open weekends? Some of these look like regular dealers rather than folks like my mom when she used to sell at fleas all the time.


  7. Fran,
    I'm glad you saw my posting for what it was, a tongue in the cheek recounting of my visit to one of the premier local attractions, the Laurel Flea Market. I love the flea market and I love the people! They are genuine. I have eaten at the flea market and it is good. I didn't know Betty's was there but I'll check it out the next time we're there. No, we didn't find any treasurers yesterday because it was too cold for us to linger outside but we will return in warmer weather and write all about it!

  8. Lar,
    Yes, the Laurel Flea Market is permanent every weekend, weather permitting. It is a lot like the ones your mother used to participate in. Anyone can rent a table outside during the warm weather. My neighbor Barbara wanted me to go in with her a couple of years ago and rent a table. Yesterday it was to chilly to roam around outside. We will be back in warmer weather.

  9. Spo,
    I LOVE flea markets too! Bill especially likes flea markets. We're luck to have such a large flea permanent flea market only a few miles away. Lots of plastic trash down these parts!

  10. Oh Cubby, I DO FIT IN that flea market. Believe me, I am one of the biggest hicks around. Perhaps the only difference is that I can take out my teeth and put them back in. Most of those guys don't have any teeth to put back in. And my accent? You don't want to hear it. I have the classic Philly Nasal Accent. I've turned off more potential tricks once I open my mouth believe me.

  11. Flea market is my one of favorite places when travelling. I think it's full of real life and a part of local culture.

  12. Anonymous10:20 PM

    Wow! I realize that the culture may be different but these are the people who made DE. Their sweat, blood, tears and dreams went into building DE (all of it, even the pretentious east side of route 1.) I’m not sure if you were trying to seem ignorant and arrogant in your blog, but you succeeded.
    Thank you,
    The toothless rednecks

  13. Anonymous9:04 PM

    Stay east of Route 1. And keep your chain stores there, too.


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