From the moment Charlotte set up housekeeping in Georgia, she began dreaming of a road trip to Scott Antique Market in Atlanta. For 11 years, there had always been one reason or another that kept her from going. So with the New Year still full of promise and “I’m going to….” hanging in the air, Charlotte made plans to meet her friend Caroline on the second Sunday of January and finally make it happen.
The Saturday before, there were torrential rains and high winds, but when she awoke Sunday morning the sun was shining and there was a crispness in the air. On the drive up 75, Charlotte was giddy with anticipation. She had heard stories of famous people being spotted antiquing at Scott’s, and had seen unique treasures friends had uncovered. One of her favorite authors, Mary Kay Andrews, blogged about jaunts to Scott’s, and the monthly event was often referenced in decorating magazines, and now Charlotte was going to see it for herself.
Arriving a few minutes early, Charlotte got out of her car and began scanning the booths set up outside the entrance of the first building. It only took 5 minutes for her to know she was in love. In an almost childlike stupor she wandered, squealing to herself among an intoxicating array of threadbare Oriental rugs, abandoned tortoise shells, biology lab skeletons and rusted factory equipment turned “industrial chic” furniture. It was all she could do to contain her enthusiasm and not immediately make her first purchase before seeing what was inside or Caroline arrived. In order to regain her composure, Charlotte decided to go inside and find the ladies’ room.
Not too long after, Caroline appeared, and she and Charlotte compared notes on what they had either heard or read online about the market. As they moved slowly through the first row of vendors, a nice looking gentleman in a baseball cap struck up a conversation with the two friends. His booth contained lovely English furniture, and the women oohed and aahed appreciatively. He could tell they were a bit overwhelmed, so he gave them some helpful advice on how to navigate the first building. In hindsight his instructions were rather obvious, but they soaked them in as though he had imparted insider secrets. Thanking him, Caroline and Charlotte followed his advice and continued down the first row with the intention of going one row at a time until they had seen everything there was to see. They hadn’t gone far before another handsome man in a navy blazer began conversing with them as they looked at his German antiques. Charlotte was feeling a bit light headed by the combination of beautiful things and the attention of handsome middle aged men. The spell however, was broken when the man in the blazer directed them to some rather hideous furniture fashioned out of elk antlers. He rattled on about some 1930’s western furniture designer who had been given the antlers by a Cherokee woman. Any allusion of this man sharing a similar esthetic was dispelled by the cumbersome and pointed furniture. Charlotte feigned interest and watched as Caroline maneuvered her way to the next booth.
When Charlotte was able to make her get-away, she caught up with Caroline who was looking at some more feminine offerings. The booth was fairly crowded and Charlotte soon discovered why. While looking at a sweet little chest of drawers, an arrestingly attractive man began telling her about the piece in a very thick and charming French accent. He was tall and dressed in pressed jeans and a red and white checked shirt. As he talked about the dresser, Charlotte couldn’t help but be taken in by his presence. He had a mass of steel wool colored and textured shoulder length curls and a winning smile. She wondered if he had told her the story of the road kill furniture would she have been as easily repulsed. She was pretty sure the answer was no. Charlotte found herself reaching for her purse to fumble for her debit card just as she heard the word pressboard, and she let out a sigh. Not even a hypnotic Frenchman could coax her into spending money on pressboard furniture, not even one who could trace its use back to the Egyptians. Proud she had not succumbed, Charlotte asked for his card…just in case she changed her mind. Walking away, Charlotte and Caroline agreed they should return before they left to go home for no other reason than to gawk.
At a booth further down the row a vendor saw the card clutched in Charlotte’s hand, and seeming amused said, “I see you’ve met Chris.” Charlotte blushed a little and then thought nothing of it. It wasn’t until they had made their way to the end of the next row, Charlotte noticed almost every woman she passed also held Chris’ card. She pointed it out to Caroline, and they both laughed. It became a game of sorts to spot just how many women had the same card. They also began noticing abandoned cards scattered in booths throughout the building. Had the women who dropped their cards come to the same realization and been crestfallen, or had their husbands noticed the Frenchman’s card and asked them to get rid of it? It was preferable to imagine the scenarios than to acknowledge she had been blinded by good looks and something other than a Georgia drawl.
The afternoon quickly flew by, as it always does when one is having fun. At the end of three hours, Charlotte and Caroline had only made it through one of the two buildings. They agreed to come back and begin the next visit in the second building. As they made their way to the entrance, they didn’t bother to revisit the French man. He would be holding court with someone else, and the thrill would be curtailed watching him woo another customer. There was also a chance the man in the navy blazer might try to unload some deciduous horned occasional chairs. Sometimes it is just better to leave well enough alone.