When we lived in Minnesota, my sister and I used to visit the Minneapolis Farmers Market almost every spring. We have very different tastes and interests, so one of us would linger at a booth the other would barely glance at. We’d often pass each other up, and meet at the end of the aisle. While my sister spent time looking at flowers, I would be checking out herbs and veggies. She liked garden decorations and knick-knacks. I preferred kitchen gadgets and seasoning blends.

I was thinking about that yesterday when I visited a VFW thrift store. I’m working a volunteer shift there next weekend as part of my Leadership class, and had never been there before, so I wanted to make sure I could find the place. It’s a good thing I did, because the address I had turned out to be for the VFW lodge, rather than the thrift store, which was a bit further down the road.

My husband and I decided to make an outing of it, and invited a friend who I know enjoys browsing through antique shops and thrift stores. Once we got there and said hello to the veterans who were sitting and chatting at the checkout desk, we meandered through several rooms of, well, everything. Dishes and decorations, clothing and accessories, tools and gadgets. Though there was a natural path and flow through the different areas of each room, we each stopped and paused at different sections. When we entered a room lined by shelves of books, my friend said, “Okay, this is where we’re going to lose Betty.” And she was right.

Books are one of my passions – especially cookbooks, and there were plenty. Although I don’t go to thrift stores or antique shops very often, when I do I always browse through the books. In fact, I’m on the lookout for a certain cookbook I had years ago that had a recipe that became a family favorite. I was sure I’d have saved the recipe before eventually getting rid of the cookbook, but I’ve searched my recipe files and have never found it. Once, in a thrift store similar to this one, I saw a First-Aid book identical to one my parents had when I was small. I’m sure first aid advice has changed considerably since then, and I wasn’t tempted to buy the book, but I figure if a book that old was donated to a thrift store, I might someday find the cookbook I’m looking for, too.

It’s said that if you want to know what’s important to a person, don’t ask them – just look at their calendar or checkbook. The things we spend our time and money on will show our real priorities. I think the places we find ourselves lingering at – in farmers markets, thrift stores, and antique shops, or even on Amazon – will do the same.

April 10, 2022
©Betty Liedtke, 2022

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