Farm Fresh Junk

After going through everything I bought from the little old lady, I sobered up completely and the two missing hours all came back…

As I staggered through the front picket fence gate, I noticed the little old lady at the fence line.

Let me stop here and explain what my first impression of the “little old lady” was. She was 90 years old, wore glasses that are half her age and a prescription that would have been right if Buddy Holly was still around. She was stooped and her cane had a four pronged walker attached to the bottom of it. She could not hear and was soft spoken. She moved very slowly and very carefully as if she was not sure of her feet.

My first impression could not have been more wrong.

The little old lady had a mind as sharp as a tack and her battle cry throughout her life had to be “adapt and overcome!” Yes, she was 90 years old to the day, but no matter. Her prescription glasses were perfect to keep an eye on your every movement and she had laser hearing to make sure you were getting into her forbidden and not for sale “project zones.” Her walker? The better to smack someone with if she didn’t like where the junk negotiations were going.

After the little old lady announced that Young Man could help me with anything I might need, except for prices, she told me to ask Young Man for a notepad and pen and to bring it back out to her. I answered with a “Yes, Ma’am.”

I walked through the front door of the old house and told Young Man, at the check out counter that I needed a notepad and pen. “Oh, she has to write down prices- but not because she forgets what they are or what she told you- she does it for more negotiation power. But, hey, listen. She recently got pretty sick and we had to move her to her son’s house. I drive her down on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays so that she can still sell her junk. Oh, sorry, not junk! Treasures!”

I asked Young Man for the notepad and pen and went back out to the little old lady waiting for me at the picket fence gate. “Well, let’s get started!” She rubbed her hands together in a gleeful “I’m going to take you for all your worth” style and barely missed my foot with her hybrid cane/walker as she suddenly shed 50 of her 90 years.

The game was on and she already had the upper hand. I had to jog to catch up to her “Whatcha interested in?” she said. “Well-” I tried to answer. Seriously, I’m not this slow witted.

The little old lady’s cane whipped up as she used it as a pointer, jabbing it towards a pile of junk and said, “You mentioned a chicken nesting box.”

Junked Chicken Nest Box

Wait. Just. A. Second. I thought she couldn’t hardly hear. I thought she could barely shuffle much less walk! “Yes, ma’am. I’m interested on a couple of different nest boxes.” Well, now. Those nest boxes are mighty popular these days. You can use them for all kinds of stuff! I saw recently in Flea Market Style Magazine…”

All I could do was stare as she rattled off current market trends and the research she conducts through “the internets.” Yes, plural- the Internets. “…so I’m gonna have to get at least $100 each for those chicken nest boxes.”

I just zoned back in and my mouth dropped open. $100 each! “If I bought them all, that’s three of them, and got them out of your way, would you take $150?”

I swear I saw a gleam in her eye. “Got them out of my way?! I love them and have been staring at them for twenty years! What’s twenty more?” She turned on her heel and clicked away on her cane/walker cackling the whole way.

I think negotiations were now over and I had just been dismissed.

I jogged after her and caught up as she was navigating the steps of the shop like she runs bleachers every morning before her daily marathon. She whipped around, again with the upper hand as she stood two steps above me, and loomed with all of her 4’9″ height. “Listen here Young Miss- you interested in those nest boxes or not? I have another customer that would buy those all day long at $150 a piece but since I like you…I’ll sell ’em to you for $200.”

Young Miss, indeed. Now we all have nicknames.

I counted three techniques of negotiation right in that sentence. I was so impressed that all I could do was mutter, “$175? Would you take $175?”

Crack! She slammed her cane down and turned around to bellow into the open front door of the house to Young Man who was now at attention, “$175! We’re going $175 on the three chicken nest boxes!” She whipped back around to face me and said, “Now c’mon! I don’t have all day and you’re already wearin’ me out! What else you interested in?!”

Little Old Lady didn’t wait for a response, she breezed past me with her walker/cane with what I swore was a smile of pure joy on her face.

“Don’t let her intimidate or fool you, she loves every second of this junk. Treasures! I meant treasures!” Young Man said as he hid back behind the counter. I glanced towards the receeding back of the little old lady as she disappeared around a pile of junk and then leaned back into the doorway of the old store, “She didn’t hear you,” I said. “Oh, thank God” responded the Young Man now fully hidden behind the counter.

“C’mon girl! I got a Dr. Pepper to get to!” bellowed the little old lady. I trotted to catch up with her as she clacked her walker/cane in total impatience.

By the end of the two missing hours and $300 later, I started to give my goodbyes, completely exhausted, but the little old lady would have none of that.

“C’mon in here and share a Dr. Peper with me.” She led the way into the store and sat down in a mostly dissolved upholstered chair. This left me to squat by her side as she handed me a Dixie cup of Dr. Pepper. I opened my mouth to ask her about her life with junk- Crack! “Girl! You plum wore me out. Drink your Dr. Pepper and shush!”

Yes, ma’am.

“We’ll talk another time…” she said begrudgingly and, I think, with a little bit of hope.


  1. Sandy
    October 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    What a great story! We just might be that little old lady in years to come! You should celebrate with a Dr. Pepper after every great hunt! Hope your trip is awesome! Blessings on your travel and time with your mom! Hope she gets “hunting fever” soon! 🙂

    • bernadette
      November 9, 2014 at 7:06 am

      I plan on taking a six pack of Dr. Pepper to the little old lady the next time I can catch her shop open… again. My mom has had a healthy vaccination to prevent junk drunkeness, salvaging sickness, dumpster diving disease. Never fear! I am hot on the trail of an antidote!

    • bernadette
      November 9, 2014 at 7:06 am

      I plan on taking a six pack of Dr. Pepper to the little old lady the next time I can catch her shop open… again. My mom has had a healthy vaccination to prevent junk drunkenness, salvaging sickness, dumpster diving disease. Never fear! I am hot on the trail of an antidote!

  2. Jill
    October 30, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your adventure! You really made me feel like I was right there…would have loved to spar with the store owner! Lost my Dad just before his 93rd birthday and so miss our family debates with him over sports, politics, and more.

    Please visit her again!

    • bernadette
      November 9, 2014 at 6:58 am

      I can relate to your comment most- I lost my Dad, as well, four years ago and he was my partner in fixing up old houses, dumpster diving, salvaging, rehabbing furniture as well as a part in the foundation of my family…losing a Dad is one of the biggest losses and I’m sorry you lost yours.

  3. Vicki
    October 30, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Very entertaining! Could just picture it… 🙂

    • bernadette
      November 9, 2014 at 6:50 am

      Thank you so much! Look for more on our favorite little old lady in future posts!

  4. Sandra
    October 31, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Where is the picture of this “wonder woman?” She sounds great…..

    • bernadette
      November 9, 2014 at 6:49 am

      Can’t believe I didn’t think to take her picture! Well, yeah, I can- I was a bit out of my mind and…that’s my excuse and I am so sticking with it! I am working on trying to get her picture but have to catch her when her shop is open…again!

  5. Sherry Tune
    October 31, 2014 at 6:17 am

    Oh how I have enjoyed this. I would love to see a picture of little ole lady. (I wonder if she would let you take her picture?) What other goodies did you leave with? Where is this at so I can go? lol

    • bernadette
      November 9, 2014 at 6:44 am

      Ask we speak, I am working on getting her picture and more stories of her grand adventures. She is a fabulous lady and I can’t resist writing more on her!

  6. Traci
    October 31, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I hope I’m just her when I’m 90 – and have a pile of junk, I mean treasures – just as impressive!

    • bernadette
      November 9, 2014 at 6:41 am

      I hope that I am just as sassy and full of life like her at 90 as well…I’m going to try to get some of her stories out of her- she herself is a treasure trove of adventures and life lessons and I just can’t wait to get to know her better!

  7. Carol Leslie
    October 31, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    This is so funny! I absolutely loved your story as well as those chicken nesting boxes. Looks like a great place to find alot of junk….I mean treasures.

    • bernadette
      November 9, 2014 at 6:39 am

      It is such a great place for…treasures!

  8. Leasa
    November 2, 2014 at 10:17 am

    What a treasure she is!

    • bernadette
      November 9, 2014 at 6:36 am

      She truly is…look for more of her in future posts 😉

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