Saturday I had to get a set of keys made for Daughter. Made two normal-sized key and a tiny one. Put them in my pocket and off we went to home. While putting away the groceries I felt something fall down my leg: two keys. It seems I have a hole in my pocket. I felt for the third. It was gone. It wasn’t on the steps or the garage floor; must have fallen out between store and car. Drove back to hardware store. Pulled up into the lot, got out, prepared for a fruitless search - and there it was, the first thing I saw. Well. That was easy.

But I had promised I would give her a Vintage keychain, and I’d seen some at Hunt and Gather, my favorite antique store in the world. There were about a hundred in a bin, all the same, all from a bank, and when you moved it back and forth the picture of the American flag waved and the words LONG MAY IT WAVE appear. I went to H&G and said hello to the owner; she asked if I was looking for anything special, and I said “a small plastic keychain with a flag that waves when you move it back and forth. I know where it is. If they’re gone by now, it’s my fault.”

“I’m glad you’re taking ownership of the situation.”

Really, that’s what she said. I went downstairs to the spot where I’d seen them weeks ago. Gone. I looked around, and even though this wasn’t a serious, slow, investigative tour of H&G, I had to snap some shots lest these things be gone the next time I go.

A display. For what I don’t know, but it’s ancient and beautiful.

There was a bin of 60s / 70s cat food labels. Because this is the kind of place that has a bin of 60s / 70s cat food labels.

A bowling shrine:

Look at the design of the bowling ball bag. Bowling was so lucky its popularly coincided with an era of great design and middle-brow swank:


An old Halloween mask, like the skin of a horrid man-pig:

Guess the decade! Yes, the Seventies factor is strong with this tableau . . .

. . . and here we see the eternal pestilence of Hobo, the undead font from the 20s that shall never die.


Secrets to popularity revealed, and I’m kicking myself for not buying it -

But I was in a hurry.

The design of every corner of the store is just marvelous. It’s a jumble when you behold it all, but every square foot, on further examination, is exquisitely designed. Lighting, arrangement, product: a dainty ration.


I did not find the flag keychains. The owner said hmm, now that you mention it, that’s her area of the store, and she had just consolidated the keychains. Because that’s the kind of life she has, and it’s a good one: let’s consolidate the keychains. She found some and knocked half off the dollar price. I bought two.

And some bottles and matchbooks, but that’s another entry. I drove home and gave the keychain to Daughter, who lit up with delight over the way the picture moved.

“What’s that called?”

I said I didn’t know.

“If anyone does you should,” she said, but I didn’t. And so the disappointment and eventual Unmasking of the Father begins.




Notes on the ongoing Pumpkinification of Everything: Poppin' Fresh has lost it.

Poppin' Fresh has lost it.





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