Sunday, April 08, 2007

Some Things are Meant to Be

Friday was one of those days when I should have left the check book and credit cards at home. I spent a couple of hours on Main Street in Smithville checking out some favorite antique stores. I found something at every store and only managed to talk myself out of a couple of things.

About two years ago I had come across an antique photo album I was tempted to purchase. Part of my ongoing habit of rescuing other people's ancestor photos. It was priced a little out of my range, however, so I passed it by regretfully. Every time I would go in there, I would look at it again and again come to the conclusion that it was too much. And pass it by.

There are two stores side by side on Main Street that are managed by a husband and wife team. The wife's store is one of my favorites. Just cluttered enough to be interesting. The husband's store, while containing some fine antiques, is more reminscent of a jumble sale. Disorganized, haphazardly arranged. But if you have time, worth investigating. It is the husband's store where the antique photo album has sat for the last couple of years.

I found an old Texas history book at the wife's store and while she rang me up, we chattered about different subjects. I've been in there enough that we recognize each other and she knows I'm a local. I mentioned that I was headed next door and the way my luck was running I would probably find something else I had to have. I'm not sure how it came up, but I mentioned the photo album. She thought a moment and then told me I should check out a certain table where a half-price sale was in progress. She was sure she had seen an old photo album in the sale group. Maybe I would get lucky and it would be the one.

I saw it the minute I stepped into the store. It was the old album I've had my eye on and it was indeed marked down to half the original asking price. It's an unusual old album, standing upright, with a double cover, each side of which has a beveled mirror. Its dusty rose velvet is torn and scuffed and the hinges of the covers are almost gone. Inside is a collection of 49 antique photos. Babies, men and women, and several wedding photos. Most are imprinted with photographers in Round Rock, Georgetown, Hutto and Fort Worth. Some genealogist would probably give their eye-teeth for this little treasure, but I've yet to find any scrap of identification.

At half-price I could no longer resist the call. When I took it up to the counter, the man was surprised to see that it was marked down. He said he would have snatched it up himself if he had noticed the booth owner had included it in the sale. He was too late and the album has moved into its new home.

Where I think it was meant to have been all along.


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