Friday begins with me sitting in the lobby. Asians are gone. They must have found rooms for them all. Today is key. We’re here on day two and we need to hit it hard today. Janice is on point as always and rolls into the lobby on time. It’s 8:30 and we need to get to the fairgrounds by 9:00am. Gotta get it done today. It’s critical. We don’t want to haul these trains back home with nothing to show for it but grinding failure. I know we’re both worried, but today’s a new day, and the sales guy in me is positive as usual. We’ll do what we have to do to move the product.
We hop in the SUV and head to the show. I hate this part of the country. Just lines of strip malls and zero culture. This place must have been something at one time.
Read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/York,_Pennsylvania
Apparently they have some decent history but I didn’t like that “Unchallenged Ku Klux Klan rallies” part. If for some reason I was banished to this purgatory I know within a month I would stuff a pistol in my mouth and eat a bullet just so I wouldn’t miss.
I love my father, but the audience that collects toy trains is for the most part a sick looking bunch. But he and his brither were true elegant collectors of the art and nostalgia that is toy trains. They would rip on all of these monsters just as hard as me and my sister are going to today and tomorrow.
We get to the hall before 9am and pull the sheets off the trains on our tables. But here’s the worst part. Before the show officially starts, everybody has to stop what they’re doing, and they make some announcements. Then they play the National Anthem. But they did that shit yesterday. It was painful enough to stand there with my hat off and my hand over my heart surrounded by these God-fearing, flag waving sheep and play along. but today they played this horrible sanctimonious defecation:
I just want to get a breakfast sandwich and start my fucking day here. But here I am standing around a bunch of redneck, inbred, nigger hating, Trump loving, fat, ignorant, fucking imbeciles and I have to act like I love America with the rest of you shits and all the shitty racist kids you’re going to make. This is a song that is just a huge pile of lies and when I put that gun in my mouth and pull the trigger the only thing that would make me happy that when the bullet exits my head taking everything with it that I am, that somehow by some miracle Lee Greenwood is standing behind me, and it hits him square in the fucking forehead for writing this steaming pile of feces.
I hate this place. My mission is to separate the targets from their cash, move the product and go.
I love this country, don’t get me wrong. But it’s a fucking toy show, not a Presidential Inauguration! Oh wait, that was a fucking joke too.
So that puppet show ends and I can finally get a shitty breakfast sandwich. I know by now I may have lost some followers but I don’t really don’t give a shit, but that’s what’s up people. It’s awful here. I don’t belong here. But we’re on a mission and I am the right person for this job. It needs to be done. Love and guilt and nostalgia aside, we don’t want to load 31 sets of trains back in the car and go home. We need to sell some stuff today.
I’m hanging at the table with Janice. It’s early. Will we get some nibbles? 9:30 comes and Jan sells a train. Small fish. $50. Then a dude comes by 15 minutes later and wants her O Gauge Comet. He says he’s been looking for it for 10 years. It’s a lovely little toy that looks like it’s been restored. The whole set is wrapped in newspaper and bagged up and sent to another family for $450. I watch as the man carries away a piece of my father’s history without his permission, but I know this puppy is going to a loving family and today that is all that matters. He’ll surprise his family and friends with this lovely little toy train and have a story to tell, and for this moment as my sister and I stand by and watch dad’s beautiful birds fly away, we can only smile. It’s going to a good home. It’ll run around the Christmas tree for the first time in forever. That’s what it was made for. To chug and puff and delight those around it.
Take it home, Sir.
I think of my father. All of his teachings and words, and ideas and all that is good, bad and wonderful inside of me as I stand here blowing out his train collection. I don’t know what Janice is feeling, but I know we’re both troubled. But we’re having a great time while doing it.
When do you get to hang out with your sister at middle age and go to what basically is a flea market and go sell a bunch of stuff for thousands of dollars? It’s surreal and elegant in the same moment. But as siblings, we’re close. Closer than we realized. Our lives have taken different directions, but like I always say, you can’t stop rock and roll, and Janice and I have a very rich history. Our family is strong and honest. We don’t need to be together all of the time to be close. This proves we were raised right. We can all be apart for long periods of time but when we come together we are money. That’s good parenting. All of my best friends are that way. I can not see them for years and when we hang, it’s right back to when we were kids again. That’s the real deal. Everybody wants that but not every family can achieve it. Some don’t even know what it is.
I’ve been around families and they don’t get it. You notice it mosly at the dinner table. The contrived conversation. It just never feels real. I noticed this when I was married to my ex. The whole conversation just sounded like a scripted dialogue over a shitty movie. What that means is that Dad is hiding something and you have all of these kids and the whole marriage is a sham. Yea. My In laws. I knew it. My Dad knew it. We discussed it but never told anybody. But that’s my ex in laws. Fuck them for now. Their great but their not in this story.
I can stand between three tables of my dad’s favorite stuff and make my sister laugh. I feel like that’s why I’m here more than to sell these lost antiquities. I could say I know how much she loved my father but that would be a fucking lie. Because no one on Earth will even know that. That belongs to them. I don’t know that. My Mother doesn’t even get it. I understand all of the moving parts of this family because I have always stood on the outside. So the clarity is automatic. Funny… cast out but you get to see everything. I’m the only boy so Dad is going to tell me all of the shit he did and make me swear I never tell my sisters, but by telling me that shit it’s out there. You were a great dad but we all have feet of clay. We’re all even in the end. I’m going to end up where you are. Tell me everything. I’m you’re son. I love you. You have given me SO much. More than you can imagine. You’re the greatest man I’ve ever met and you used to hit me.
I’m selling off your favorite stuff, dude. The jokes you used to make about me at your funeral blowing out your 260E Pre War O Gauge set on Ebay is happening! This isn’t vengeance. I’m helping my sister because I work in a sales job that allows me a flexible schedule. Janice needs this stuff away because we don’t know what to do with it. We miss you. We miss your voice, and your smile. We miss mom too. Let’s not leave her out of this.
Remember the old 8mm film from before we were born that you guys made? It was an elegant home movie of mom pulling a box out from under the bed at Christmas and just pulling endless goodies out of it. You guys were loving and playful back then. I like that couple. That’s a great film. I love that you had the movie camera and you did something cool with it. You were always a cool filmmaker. I’ll write about all of that at another time but I love that you made a fun surprise christmas movie with your wife. You loved her. I loved her. I miss her. She was amazing. She was tough and patient and tolerant and a good mom to me and my sisters.
But my sister and I am here in a place I would never want to go to voluntarily moving your most beloved possessions and you don’t even have a voice to help us do it. I know you want us to do it. But we could sure use your help, dad. This is your history. Your mythology. Janice and I are systematically dismantling and getting rid of all of your favorite stuff. I’m sorry, dad.
We loved you. We miss you. It’s hard for the senior members to go and do this to your stuff. I wouldn’t like it. If my daughter Lorelei let my 1979 Ibanez Iceman go for $200 I may rise from the grave and come after her in the afterlife. (I know she’s afraid of ghosts) But we have to deal with this.
But dad… This is just stuff. You loved your trains. But the best part of your life was just what you said it was. Meeting Mom. Your kids and your books. You always told me that. Over and over again.
I know you suffered. I know you better than anybody. You love Jan, but I’m your son and I know I get all of the good and bad. I’m fine with that. I’ve had plenty of my own. I love you forever and forgive you as I hope my own daughter will forgive me for my feet of clay.
I was writing this tome to document an adventure that I got to have with my sister I never saw this coming. It’s a welcome surprise. I was praying the trip to York wouldn’t just be a transaction. I just want to understand more and go forward and be a better person.
Dad, don’t worry. We’re fine. I forgive you and you’re dead so I can’t worry if you forgive me. I just hope that you weren’t too disappointed in me. I tried my best and always tried to be true to myself. I know I’ve made mistakes in my life when it came to matters of the heart. mine cost me $125K in child support, but at least you always told me your stuff and I really know you and what happened in your life to make you who you are.
I know you know that I’m more like mom’s side of the family. I appreciate all that you’ve done for me and I’m going to go forward in life and follow your message. The one you never got to fulfill.
“Go through life and hurt as little people as possible.”
Living it. Your grand-daughter Lorelei is away from her mother and has lived with me since half way through her senior year. She just got a raise at her job.
I know you liked Michelle. She moved to San Francisco and married her high school sweetheart.
“That never works.”
“You can’t say that, Dad. You’re dead.”
“Yea, I know, but that shit never works.”
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