Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Done: The Annual Pilgrimage to Canton

At home near Fort Worth, Texas...

I'm not sure when it happened. We were taught that in ancient times, the menfolk were hunter-gatherers, leaving the home--or cave, as it were--every morning while the womenfolk stayed behind to cook food and sew animal skins together to stay warm.

At some point, women decided they needed a break from all that cooking and sewing. They decided that they, too, would become hunter-gatherers, at least for a few days now and then.  

The question then was, what would they hunt? The answer: Stuff they didn't know they needed! Hence was the birth of First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas. Fortunately, around this time, someone invented money and, to get ready access to their husbands' wallets, the ladies began to make their clothes out of skimpier and skimpier animal skins. Not much has changed since then.

In keeping with this tradition, we began our annual pilgrimage to Canton where, on the first weekend of every month preceding the first Monday, more than a hundred thousand shoppers converge. It is in this melee of electric four-wheel scooters and shopping carts that my lady and the others in her entourage dive in and engage in a frenzy of hunting and gathering--bargains. Their hunting ground is the massive 400-acre labyrinth of buildings, sheds, pavilions and lean-tos that occupy much of the land along highway 19 between I-20 and downtown Canton. The complex is so vast that it would take several days to see it in its entirety. Here is an aerial view:

We always take Phannie to Canton and park at Mill Creek Ranch Resort, which is near the market area and provides a free shuttle. And it is in Phannie that I subsequently take my refuge, along with any other cavemen who may have been roped into this adventure with me. I try to stay as far away from the market as possible while the shopping orgy is in progress, my role mercifully reduced to that of a cash repository from which Sandy does not hesitate to draw as the need arises. I also provide chauffeur services if there is a need. Mill Creek Ranch is easily the nicest RV park in the area, but any First Monday reservations need to be scheduled a year in advance.

On this trip, Sandy's shopping team consisted of Sandy's sister, Brenda, and our daughter, Mindy. Since we arrived a day early, I decided to go out and walk around the market grounds when it wasn't very crowded. I didn't have much interest in the kitschy things that appeal to the ladies, but I did enjoy some of the characters and unusual things I saw, some of which I will catalog in the photos below:

Here are the girls in their "blue team" shopping shirts:

Sandy, Mindy and Brenda, ready for bargains

There are literally hundreds of these electric rental scooters all over the place; this one has a trailer, and I'm not sure the gross combined vehicle weight limitations are being observed here:

This woman is pulling a shopping cart behind her scooter, but I was mesmerized by the elephant hat she was wearing; I wonder if she was getting ready for the upcoming election?

We saw quite a few pets accompanying the shoppers. Here are a couple of dogs shopping from their red wagon:

Here's another cute dog dressed up in his papal vestments. His name?  Wait for it...Pope John Pup. (I'm not making this up.):

Does anyone need any neon signs for a game room? You can get them here!

How about a nice pair of brass knuckles? Yep...they're here!

Now who doesn't need a jackass in the living room? Oh already have one?

You can find every imaginable food in this place; I have a weakness for corn dogs and roasted corn; here I am buying an ear of fresh roasted corn; it was really good!:

Hundreds of RVs belonging to vendors are set up in various RV parking areas. Here is a small group of vendors' motorhomes:

All in all, the girls had a great time at First Monday in Canton, and I got all caught up on my napping. Almost all of Sandy's purchases were for the grandsons, but I'm pretty sure that's the way it's supposed to be.