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A Pleasant Surprise
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 by Frank Shortt
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I arose early on Sunday morning, September 16, 2018, and drifted down Grizzly Flat Road toward Diamond Springs, Ca. My destination: The weekly Diamond Springs Flea Market.

The Flea Market in Diamond Springs is full of surprises for antique and collectible collectors. Some flea-marketeers come from as far as Stockton, Lodi, and Angel’s Camp to either sell or look for bargains. I look for Militaria, musical instruments, and old artwork.

The first booth I stopped at was a lady named Lorie, from the Placerville area, who had just purchased the storage unit of an illustrator whose husband was allegedly at one time the conductor of the San Francisco Symphony. This lady was undoubtedly married multiple times as at different times she had gone by Babin, Andres, and Vandenberg. Her forte’ was the illustrations in magazines and advertisement. She was well traveled as she had brochures from France, Iran, Arabia, and a host of other places. I was able to purchase a Dali’ print signed in the etching plate and the early drawings of the illustrator mentioned.

As things go sometimes, a couple showed up, of whom, I had been looking for some time. The man, Jeff, and I had spent many times in the past talking of things most precious to both of us. This day was no exception as we ambled around the flea market we talked of family, spiritual happenings, and events that had transpired since our last encounter. Jeff went to breakfast with me even though he had already had his morning repast. We parted with promises to keep in touch soon.

As I had not seen the rest of the flea market, having spent most of the morning with Lorie and Jeff, I began to slowly work my way around. Suddenly, I heard accordion music drifting my way! It was an old-time hymn that had been sung by many country and blue grass bands, entitled, “Angel Band”! Being a music lover, I mosied over and soon was joining them in other songs familiar to themselves and me. We sang songs by well-known bluegrass artists, old songs, down to earth and lonesome. These songs, among others, were; “Footprints in the Snow”, recorded by Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, “O Katie Dear”, recorded by Bill and Earl Bolick, the Blue Sky Boys. We also spent time talking about music of the past and how a lot of it has been lost by our young people due to their easy-access to video games, etc. on the internet.

A man who sat in the group, not saying much, began to ask me questions about my homeland of Virginia. He wished to know the ethnic make-up of the area and whether or not there were lots of Scotch/Irish natives there. I replied affirmatively, at which time he wanted to know if it was so that they were great drinkers and some loved to fight. I had to sadly report that this was so, as I am from the Scotch/Irish line, and most of my family was drinkers and fighters. My dad made moonshine at an early age and most of my uncles spent time in the pokey because of drinking and fighting. My Grandmother’s people were the McGlothlin clan and her brothers were known far and wide for making good moonshine. I then told them about my nephew, Rocky Butcher, who makes instruments out of wood, guitars, dulcimers, banjos, etc. and that he and his four children were great singers and pickers. I remembered that I had one of their cd’s in my car, so I went there and brought it back for them to hear. They were all amazed at the clarity of the voices and the accuracy of the instruments played by Rocky, Matthew, David and Emily. Anna provided some wonderful singing.

I left that flea market thanking the group for one of the greatest mornings I had spent in a long time. We exchanged emails and they promised me that they would let me know when they planned another get-together. As I returned up Grizzly Flat Road and home, I hummed the songs that we had shared. A random encounter is sometimes one of the most enjoyable events one can partake of. I will remember this morning for a long time.