Were we surprised the first weekend in November when we awoke to the sound of more than pittering and pattering on our roof?  Not at all.  It was Metrolina Expo Marketplace weekend and we were determined to give it another try.  So it was no surprise to us that Mother Nature decided to unleash a multitude of slow-moving heavily laden rain clouds our way.  After stopping for his usual portable breakfast (yes, even in the pouring rain), the Great One maneuvered his way through the downpour.  As most of the sane folks in the area had rolled back over in their nice dry beds, we had very little company on the road. 

Pulling into the parking lot, we realized that we have never arrived at the Metrolina on a pretty sunshiny day.  When we attended a coin show here years ago, Mother Nature greeted us by conjuring up a windstorm, which practically blew us back out of the parking lot.  Since then, we have tried the Marketplace event a few times and every time, the parking lot looks like a duck’s paradise.  Picking our way around the puddles proved to be an exercise in futility and made us wish we owned galoshes, but since we normally don’t have to brave the elements (except when we want to), we are ill-equipped for such occasions.  Of course, we could have just stayed home, but what fun would that be?

Arriving at the gate, there was a lull in the rain so we decided to check out the outdoor vendor tents while we had the chance.  There were still pudgy gray clouds looming just above waiting to wring themselves out over the area.  Right off the bat, the Great One found some crates and with profound restraint, walked away with just one, which necessitated a trip back to the truck – for him – I just kept on looking.  A gorgeous art deco console radio looking for a new home caught my eye, but as we still have more than our fair share in the garage, we admired her beauty and went on our way.

Inside we came across the Cork Dork with her ever expanding line of recycled wine cork boards, trivets, etc. in her usual booth near the door.  Mike’s-N-Gayle’s Toys and Joys Antiques, got our attention next.  Among her many treasures, Gayle has mini vintage Made in Japan cameras  and a Made In Occupied Japan cigarette lighter that looks like a mini camera.  Having lost so many family members to lung cancer, we stay away from smoking-related items.  So, unique as it is, it couldn’t come home with us.  Looking in Mike’s toy booth on previous occasions as well, we have noticed, his stock is ever changing.  If you don’t find something you just have to have this time, he’ll have something for you next time.

Along the way, we happened upon Robert Kurschner of Sterling Treasures.  His chandeliers that sparkle and shine were hard to miss and drew us towards his booth, where we found beautiful crystal and fine china.  As he and the Great One had a lot in common (a past that included food industry sales), we spent a good bit of time with him.  He shared his belief that the “good stuff” should be used and enjoyed, not hidden away in a cabinet.  So if you have fine china and crystal you’re not using, maybe you should call him.   Seeing as I have safeguarded my china and crystal for over 40 years now, maybe it is time to bring it out and enjoy it.

In Nostalgia That Works, we found John Mode, radio aficionado, who enjoys restoring and refurbishing old radios.  He had some really beautiful ones on display, all of which worked.  While we have a garage full of old turntables and parts, about the only thing of interest to him would be a Zenith Cobramatic toner arm.  We haven’t found any Zeniths yet, but If ever we do. . .

Space-related toys and banks have become an obsession (one of many) for the Great One so when he came across 3 Louis Marx & Co. Inc. plastic spacemen made in 1970 following the July 20, 1969 Apollo Moon Landing, I knew he wasn’t going to walk away from them and he didn’t.  But I did have to talk him into the Schylling Collector Series Rocket Ride Carousel toy, a perfect tie-in for his space collection – no batteries needed.

Weather aside, it was our best Metrolina Expo Marketplace experience yet.  We had a good time, met some interesting people and went home with a few treasured items.  And last but not least, there was the kettle corn on the way out for the ride home.  Unlike movie theater popcorn, this kettle corn tastes as good as it smells.