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We don’t get too many 3-day weekends at the job; between receiving raw materials from all over the world and shipping finished product all over the world—places that don’t necessarily share our holidays, in other words—production falls behind too fast if we’re always shutting the place down. We’re even open on Mardi Gras, highly unusual in south Louisiana. All of which is to say that I savored every moment of my Memorial Day weekend. (Except for all of the self-righteous sneering I saw on Facebook yesterday about people having BBQs and whatnot. Do you think the people doing the sneering spent all day weeping and wailing in a military cemetery? I don’t.)

I kicked around several ideas for something to do on Saturday, and at the last minute remembered that my department manager mentioned last month that she went to the Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula and that the town has a lot of antique stores, which she knows I like. I Googled it, and most of them are clustered around the intersection of Pine and Railroad, the original town center. I pride myself on knowing where all the best antique stores within a 2 ½ hour drive are, so I had to check it out.

I wound up buying another Polaroid SX-70, which I know is kind of crazy because I just bought one last month that I haven’t even started to refurbish. But this one has the metal body, which I really prefer over the plastic. However, it’s also an autofocus model with a sonar unit (I didn’t take a photo of the camera but this is what it looks like), which I’m not crazy about. For one thing, it seems like something that’s likely to no longer work. For another, I prefer to focus the dang camera myself. Also, I dislike it on purely aesthetic grounds. I wish it could be removed, although it can at least be turned off and the camera returned to a manual focus setting. Anyway, it was only about $30, and the patches were already halfway peeled off so it looked like an easy clean-up. I got them all scraped off and bought a set of oilskin patches from an Etsy seller that have a graphic flowers-and-birds design in primary colors on black. I’d had that favorited since I bought the first SX-70, but since that one has a black plastic body I don’t think that skin would look as striking on it (because it would be black on black). For that one I may spring for the alligator skin, or maybe I’ll just come up with something crazy myself. Whichever camera I wind up liking better I’ll keep, and put the other one up for sale in my Etsy shop.

It didn’t take long to see all the stores, and at close to 90 degrees it was a bit warm to just wander around. Although it did look like an interesting town and I’m adding it to the list of possible meetup sites. I knew I was going to pass Denham Springs on the way back home, which is another town that has a lot of antique stores in the old downtown area. Most of them are in buildings that date back to the beginning of the town, like the first furniture store and movie theater. My favorite is Heritage House, which is in the old boarding house. Every room is like a little store all on its own.

American Tourister train case

When I was a kid, we still had kicking around the house a set of light blue Samsonite luggage that was my mother’s when she was first married. Either to my father or her first husband, I’m not sure, but they were probably 15 or 20 years old by the time they became my toys. I was obsessed with the train case and used to daydream about running away from home just so I’d be able to actually use it. I have no idea what happened to that luggage set, probably it got sold or given away when we moved from the house on Torres Avenue to the one on Conovan Lane, because I never saw it again after we moved.

All of which is to say, I’ve had a vintage train case-shaped hole in my soul that I’ve been trying to fill for years. They’re a not-uncommon item in antique stores, but they tend to be overpriced and/or torn to hell on the inside. I found a closet at Heritage House that had 3 train cases; one of them was way too beat up, one of them was too small, and then there was this one. A few light scuffs on the outside, I can live with that, inside… it was definitely used a lot, but it had an interior plastic lining that could be very easily cleaned. It even had the sectional tray that fits inside the lid! Vintage train cases are ALWAYS missing that tray. Cost, with tax: $23 and change. And at the counter they gave me the key, so I can even lock it if I want. I Googled this brand, looks like it dates from the mid-1960s.

The rest of the weekend I was pretty lazy. Sunday I cleaned and ran some errands in Lafayette, including to Ulta. I now own all 3 of the Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palettes, so my life is complete. (I like make-up, okay DON’T JUDGE ME.) Oh, and I think I hit a dove with my car on the way home! Two of them were in the road, they flew up as my car approached but one flew TOWARDS my car instead of AWAY from it. There was a thump and an explosion of feathers. I love animals, but whatever. Doves are basically the pigeons of rural areas, and to quote George Costanza, we’re supposed to have a deal with them: they get out of the way of our cars, and we ignore the statue-crapping. I would feel worse if it had been some kind of egret or heron, even though those are as common around here as seagulls were in California. After the ‘rents went to bed I watched the Hannibal season finale (OMFG NOTHING WILL EVER BE OKAY AGAIN), and streamed a few episodes of this insane Korean soap opera I have recently become addicted to, Vampire Prosecutor. It’s about this prosecutor? He’s a vampire. Monday I got the car washed, re-read The Virgin Suicides, and ate a hamburger. I like mine with melted cheddar, a pineapple ring, and BBQ sauce. Try it sometime!
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