so we were in Henderson, NV on a road trip when I spotted a very small thrift store on the side of the road. A woman with white hair, semi-plump, wearing shorts and a tank top was opening the door and turning the opening side around as I convinced my brother to stop. We walked in and as small as the place was it was jam packed with stuff, wall to tall. Just my kind of place. There was all sorts of things you’d find in an antique, thrift store but there was no rhyme or reason on how it was displayed or organized. Knowing we didn’t have a lot of time to waste I asked the woman if they had any records.
"We have a bunch. It’s mostly music made by black people, though. Just so you know." she said.
"Well that’s a definite selling point to me," I responded. "Where are they?"
Pointing toward the the floor I found a box full of moldy old LP’s and boxes of 45’s. “The records are $5 a piece.”
"Even the 45’s?" I asked.
Digging through I immediately found a bunch of Motown and James Brown singles. The kind of stuff I would normally freak out about, except all these were hacked to bit. Scratched, moldy, not too much to get excited about and even more depressing because of their potential.
I asked her if she would come down if I took home a bunch of them. She explained they are a charity business that uses all the money from stuff people donated to their shop to pay the bills and to also provide meals to people every Sunday.
"We do big cook outs every weekend, you guys are welcome to come by. We encourage people to bring food if they can." showing me a video her church made as an example of what each of event looks like. Next to the TV was a big jar for people to leave donations.
"I’ve looked up a bunch of those records up on the internet and some of them go for a $100 or more."
Feeling defeated I motioned to my brother who was looking through some old license plates to start wrapping thing up. That’s when her partner came in and greeted us. He was ultra friendly, even more so than the woman who was as talkative as can be. We found ourselves in between the two have to dart our necks back and forth listening to their story. I felt like they probably don’t get many visitors and as much as we tried to tell them who we were and were just passing through they continued to keep giving us their speil.
Finally we started walking toward the door when I found a box of found photographs, ten cents a piece. I thought, bingo, this stop won’t be for nothing. Inside were the most random photos including dudes in suits who appear to be in R&B bands from the 80’s, Some really small guy on stage with a microphone. There were black families gathered for picnics, going to church, hanging out in the living room. Again, this is the sort of stuff I love and look for in these small town situations. All perfect as is or for future collage fodder.
Eventually I picked out ten of them as the gospel music from the television carried on. I got so excited and perhaps inspired by their continued friendliness and joy in my discovery I dropped a ten dollar bill in the jar.
"Thank you so much guys, god bless you. We hope to see you this Sunday!" she said as she bagged up my finds.
"Thank you. Will see you soon." I said as Jon started the car and I jumped in.