Street preachers and ball caps (October 4,2011)

The 2011 Hillsville Flea Market was one of the best shows of the year, down a bit from 2010, but that was the all-time best for the venue, so that was to be expected. Aside from the buying and selling, there's always plenty of the human parade on display.

After closing up on Sunday evening, I walked the crowded streets for a while. One of the sights was a street preacher exhorting the crowds. He preached with that aspriational Appalachian cadence (Well let me tell you HA!--That Jesus saves HA!) You could accompany it with a Delta blues slide guitar and it would fit perfectly. He stared into the middle distance as if he were preaching, not so much to the crowd, but to himself.

There may have been a few that heeded his message, a few that scorned it, but the overwhelming tide of humanity surged by without a glance, slogging fatalistically toward their next corn dog or yard ornament. Maybe bad on me, but I was fascinated, not for reasons he might have appreciated. Street preachers are a rarity these days in 2011, and he was in perhaps the perfect location. He was preaching in front of the Hillsville ABC (liquor store). A few yards behind him was The World's Largest Allilgator, a carny type attraction you had to pay to see, and directly across the street was metallic folk art for sale, including a huge cannon, whose barrel opened up to reveal a barbeque grill. Only at the Flea market in Hillsville...

For the last three years I've developed a tradition of buying something cheap as a flea market souvenir, and for the third year in a row, it has been a dollar ball cap. Two years ago it was Arkansas Baseball, last year it was Southwest Missouri State. The vendor has a huge selection remaindered items, and I probably should have went with something like Johns Hopkins lacrosse, or Doug's Excavating, Council Bluffs, Iowa. Maybe next time. This year: I found a Loyola Marymount hat. This is the 20th anniversary of the LMU March Madness Cinderella run, which start when star player Hank Gathers collapsed on the court and died, and the Lions became a huge sentimental favorite. During that time I bought an LMU hat mail order, $20 or so. Over the years it was worn out or lost, so I was pleased to find a replacement. Only at the Flea market in Hillsville...