After visiting the post office this morning, Rebecca led me the long way home, towards Mahnken's Farm Supply. Once a thriving Sentry hardware store, "Mahnken's" is now, what I affectionately call, a "junque shop". Mr. Maknken is widowed 12 years or so, loves to shop auctions (bids on box lots no one else will and the auctioneers love him for it!) and resells his finds in his hardware store. He told me once that keeping the store costs him money, but having it open from 8am until 11:30-ish, Monday- Saturday gives him a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I guess on Sundays, church gets him out of bed. His store has long been a place for the local "ancients" to meet and jaw at the back and Mr. Maknken enjoys the regular company.
I hadn't been to the store in at least 6 months since Rebecca has become so curious, head strong and gets into everything (see over feeding fish episode in following entry). Mahnken's is dirty, cluttered and items are often precariously stacked. If I have to watch her like a hawk, I can't be shopping! Today I thought I would risk it. Mostly, I wanted to say "hi". Let Mr. M. know that I hadn't abandoned him. When I enquired about "new merchandise", Mr. M. waved his hand about and said, "it's spread around". Yikes! I didn't have that much time to browse! But after a quick glance at the front of the store, I followed Rebecca (like a hawk) into the annex, after Mr. M instructed me to turn on the light- he doesn't heat, cool or illuminate anything he doesn't have to. I wasn't expecting to find anything "new", but after being disappointed by some beautiful, but cracked, Austrian china teacups (they had looked promising from far away), I stumbled across these lovely, old dip pens. One has a rusted nib and the painted wooden handle is slightly warped and the red paint is cracked and flaked off. Its mate once had a magenta plastic handle, but has faded unevenly to ivory and pink in places. It's stuff like this that calls my name. It's a mystery to my in-laws who have a hard time buying gifts for me. lol Soon after, I found this very pretty English china teacup- for Amy. She admires how I serve her tea in teacups and apologizes for serving me tea in her sturdy mugs. This teacup had a Madame Souzuska look about it and best of all, the saucer matched and there were no cracks or chips (really a miracle in Maunken's shop sometimes). I couldn't quibble with the price either.
When I brought my finds up to the counter, Mr. M. said with satisfaction, "I knew you would find something!" I must be his best customer. The pens were unmarked, so we agreed on $1 for both and while he wrapped the teacup and saucer in an antiques trade paper (very boring reading I found later and I like antiques), I let him know that I only have $2 because I hadn't planned on stopping in. That's okay, he trusts me, he says and lets me pay him the balance tomorrow.