Saturday, July 27, 2013

Laurel Flea Market

That's me in the red pullover and tan shorts - do I look like I belong?

Yesterday I received a sad and long vitriolic comment on a long ago posting I had on the Laurel Flea Market.  Sad because my original posting was a tongue in cheek posting but apparently my attempt at dry humor was lost on the commenter.  Sometimes, nuance doesn't come through on blog postings.  

Sad because I was actually extolling the virtues of the Laurel Flea Market.  I did make the point that there are two main cultures here in southern Delaware.  The "natives", that is basically the "good old Southern boys" culture.  The skinny guys almost always missing a couple of teeth, either from meth or lack of money for regular dental visits.  You takes your choice.  

Mr. Reds caught our eye - standard "uniform" - pullover, with pants down his ass   - I think they're shorts but they could also be "high water pants"

After a long diatribe, the commenter told me I was a "snob" and to "go back from where you came from."  Yeah, take my money too?  

Me on the prowl looking for that bargain - notice the rainbow umbrella - we're everywhere!

Nope, the folks you see at the Laurel Flea market are a cross section of the diverse cultures here in Sessex County.  Hispanics, old biker guys with gray, ratty pony tails and bulging beer bellies, some orientals and just maybe a smattering of "snobs" like me who are looking for a bargain or just a chance to experience life in Southern Delaware.  

I DO look out of place don't I?

Bill asked me this morning if I wanted to go to the Laurel Flea Market.  An interesting coincidence because I hadn't even mentioned the sad and hateful comment I received on my blog posting about the Laurel Flea Market.  At first I didn't want to go, not in the mood.  Then I thought "Why not?"  Today is a nice day.  Low humidity (thank God) and temperatures in the 80's.  Actually really summertime weather instead of the "someone left the oven door open" weather we've been having the past two weeks.

Wouldn't you know it.  I'm standing underneath the dresses!

So we took a ride down to Laurel.  It was packed.  Couldn't find a parking place.  I wanted to go home.  Bill wanted to stay.  I hate driving around a dusty, dirt parking lot looking for a slot.  I just know I'll get another dent in my car.  Lots of pickup trucks and dented vans at the Laurel Flea Market.

Do my pants make me look fat?

We got lucky and found a parking spot on macadam.  Only thing we were next to one of THOSE VANS with the suspicious looking characters in it.  Looked like dope dealers to me. And hold off sending me any nasty comments.  I know when someone is dealing dope.  No reason for that many young guys to be hanging around the van, going in and out the back rustling through their "paper bags."  Give me a break.

Bill and I walk around.  Interesting characters to say the least.  Of course we're interesting characters to others too.  

I bought a pink Crepe Myrtle.  I saw a Royal Doulton figurine of a lady in a gown that caught my eye.  It said "Please rescue me!"  I walked by but before I got to the end of the row I told Bill "I have to go back and see how much that cost."  I go back, pick up the delicate figurine (I could almost see a smile appear on the figurine's face) and asked the grizzled, pony-tailed biker type "How much?"  "Fifty!" he spits at me.  I gently place her back on the worn table with her trashy friends and leave without a word.  $25 ......maybe but not $50.  

Bill buys a watermelon.  Has trouble getting change.  The lady who took his $10.00 bill for the $3.00 watermelon probably "forgot" she was to give Bill change.  Bill had to chase her down then she professed not to understand what he was saying.  Bill got his change after much arm waving and shouting.  You don't short change Bill.

That's Bill on the left in the plaid shirt - fondling the watermelons

Bill said "Let's go.  I'm tired.  I had enough."

We went back to our car.  I see the dusty, white, dented van with the suspicious looking characters in the back has gone too.  Gots to keep moving fellas.  

We head home down Rt. 9 through Georgetown on this summer Saturday morning, admiring the many different colors of Crepe Myrtle trees lining our route.

We get home.  Unload our car.  Just before I go into the house I check the side panel door to see if I have a "souvenir" from the Laurel Flea Market.  Sure enough, I do.  My door now has a "Laurel Flea Market" ding with paint scraped off.  Only about an inch but enough to draw my eye to it every time in the future when I go to my car.  

I got my touch up paint out and touched it up.  I can still see where the ding was but at least my eyes won't be drawn to it every time I get into my car.  

Thus ended our Saturday Morning Adventure to the Laurel Flea Market.  Bill said "Want to go again tomorrow?", one ding is enough.

My "buy" of the day, a pink crepe myrtle bush! $9.50!


anne marie in philly said...

no dresses? ;-)

we have a "flea market" like that up here called zern's; OMB, what an awful place! the exact same people too!

Jon said...

First of all, I'm sorry that some sorry asshole left am unpleasant comment about your tongue-in-cheek perspective on the Laurel Flea Market. Unfortunately some morons can't appreciate a sense of humor. I always understand your humor (that's undoubtedly because we're both intelligent).

When I was a kid my father used to love flea markets and always sold things there on the weekends. My Mom and I LOATHED these expeditions.
Back then they were called "swap meets". I suppose "flea market" sounds more upscale (???)

I dislike flea markets for all the reasons you stated in this post. Sleezy sellers, weird people, high prices, dented cars in parking lots.....

Sounds more like Texas than Delaware.

Ron said...

Anne Marie,

Bill likes flea markets. I like thrift stores. I get some great buys in a thrift store. Flea markets, for the most part, has the same old junk, and I mean JUNK, all the time. Once in a great while there is a buy. What I don't like about flea markets is that they size you up and try to charge you accordingly. But there is a place for flea markets. Lots of folks go there. Bill also used to go to an old ratty flea market in Downingtown too. Same kind of people. Overcharging you for junk. I never went with him.


Ron said...


Thanks. Yes, I was a bit taken aback by that asshole who didn't get my caustic wit about the flea market. I wasn't putting his precious flea market down but there is a certain type of person who work the flea markets. I understand they need someplace to go to trade their trash.

The point I was trying to make with my original blog post on flea markets was the start differences between the two distinct demographic cultures here in Sussex County. On the east coast, ocean shore, are mostly out-of-staters; i.e. "snobs" who BRING THE MONEY TO SUSSSEX COUNTY. And then there are the "locals". Sussex County Delaware is southern. Farmers and chicken raisers. That's it. And occasionally the twain does meet. Another "industry" is drugs which is getting worse every year. And oh, I almost forgot, he was a heavy Hispanic population. Unlike other parts of this country, most of our Hispanic population is from Guatemala. Same difference. They''ve just about taken over Georgetown, the Sussex County county seat. I don't have a problem with them. They do the jobs the white trash won't do. We have a somewhat smaller black population, mostly descendants of slaves who never moved after the Civil War. You rarely see them doing the job that the Hispanic do. Many of them (women) are attendants or whatever you call them in our burgeoning medical care industry. We have a lot of old people down here (me and Bill included) that is growing in leaps and bounds. Almost all of the non-medical personnel are black women. The nasty commenter on my blog posting called me a "snob." He got that wrong but there are snobs here, in Lewes where I work. They wouldn't be caught dead at the Laurel Flea Marekt.

Someday you'll have to visit Delaware Jon. I'll show you around.


Stan said...

LOL! I haven't heard the term "High water pants" since my Mother (Rest Her Soul) used say that. We have the same thing here in Central NJ called Englishtown Auction which is really a flea market like that place too. I guess every State in the country has one with the same type of crowd. When I've gone I can usually pick out the gay couples wondering about and I'm sure they can spot me too. The Crepe Myrtle is a beauty! $9.50 is a bargain. You don't look out of place it's just that your so tall.

Ron said...


"High water pants" was a common term when I was growing up in the Fifties. That was because we often outgrew our clothes but couldn't afford new pants (until the beginning of the school year anyway) thus the derisive term "high water pants." Never know when there would be a flood and you didn't want to get your cuffs (remember them?) wet.

I usually don't buy anything at these flea markets because it's all the same old trash recycled over and over again at ridiculously high prices. I get better bargains and better quality "stuff" at the seven thrift stores we have within a three mile radius of our home. That crepe myrtle that I bought did catch my eye because of the exact color pink I was looking for and it was very healthy. I was sure it would cost $20 or higher but the farmer who was selling it only asked $9.75 which sounded very reasonable. to me. He also didn't seem like the usual flea market low life, but just a local farmer.

And yes, I am tall, especially among our large Hispanic (Guatemalan) population. I doubt if any of them are over 5'2". I'm 6'3" . I feel like Gulliver when I'm walking amongst them.


Jon said...

I always appreciate your responses. I hadn't realized that there were so many Hispanics and drug dealers in your neck of the woods. I guess it's all over the country nowadays.
Many of the Mexicans here in WestTex are illegals. Some of them are extremely nice and hard workers. Others are rotten and resent the gringos. The city I live in is only 34 per cent white and I feel like an intruder.

When I first started blogging (on AOL, aeons ago) I used to be ruthless with my criticism of Texas and I got a LOT of hateful comments from lovers of the Lone Star State. I have since learned to tone down my brutally blunt feelings.

David Jeffreys said...

I've never understood why it is called a "flea" market!? Never sold fleas did they?

I think the only differences between a flea market and a Walmart is that the parking spaces are paved and marked off at Walmart, and the merchandise is new. In just a few weeks the merchandise will be ready for the flea market. Can you say "junk"? And all the sales people and customers are the same at both places.

You are right about the thrift stores. They are usually donations of higher quality items that better folk no longer need; and they usually raise money for a worthy cause.

Just think -- the two items you and Bill purchased could have been at a farmers' market and probably similarly priced. I bought two crepe myrtles while driving down US 13 on the Delmarva, probably in Virginia about ten years ago. Now they are about 12-15 feet high.

OK, Ron, call me a snob too.

pat888 said...

Flea markets aren't my thing either. Too many stalls, narrow passages - and stuff I'm not interested in. At the same time, every Sunday in downtown Toronto there is a market which often times has retro lamps and furniture and modern art - and sometimes rare glass pieces - vases etc. I once bought a small Purvis Young sketch which was done on both sides of paper glued together. Altho I admit I haven't had it appraised. While I enjoyed going to this market, as I was in walking distance, there was also a lot of less interesting things (well, to me) such as people selling off old vinyl and coins etc. However, it's been a long while since I was there as I am now more a purger of things than a collector. I wasn't aware of your blog, Ron, at the time of the comment you are referring to - but I do know you've got a wonderful sense of humour. (cdn spelling keeps correcting my American writing).


anne marie in philly said...

I think I remember the one in downingtown...UGH!

Friko said...

The one thing I noticed instantly is that you do NOT fit in. Far too smartly turned out.

Ron said...


You're right, flea markets do have too many stalls, too close together and narrow passages. And I suspect most of the items in a flea market came from a thrift store so you know the price has been marked up. I find all the "good stuff" at thrift stores but as you're doing now, I should be purging. I have purged some of my accumulation over the years. In fact I got one thrift store started up with much of my stuff a few months after we moved down here in 2007.

I'm glad you recognize my sense of humor. I use humor with irony. Some miss that distinction.


Ron said...


Know what? Before I left home yesterday, I deliberately DID NOT IRON my outfit like I usually do when I put on fresh duds to go out. I actually thought I would "blend in" better. HA! I still stood out. Too clean, no beer belly, and I have all my teeth, albeit some crowns and partials.

Thanks for your comment. All comment are always welcome.


Ron said...


I think you just hit the nail on the head. There really isn't much difference between a flea market and Walmart except for the quality of floors. Basically, the same folks but the merchandise is newer at Walmart. I would go to the local farmers' markets but talk about snobs and overpriced items. I'm somewhere in between the flea market crowd and the farmers' market crowd. A bit too snobby for the flea market but not snobby enough for the farmers' market crowd.


Ur-spo said...

you should conduct a flea market, not attend them; you can make a fortune this way. But Bill is no longer for sale.

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