Lent – Day Thirty – Three
Sunday, April 6, 2014 – Leaving Canton (Athens) in my rearview mirror in the pouring rain. Therefore I drove very carefully. Speed seems to be a critical component of the East Texas culture. And I mean culture in the sociological sense as one that should be studied. One must carefully pay attention to the speed limit signs. It does not matter that there is sign with 70 mph and thirty yards further down the road is one that reads 55 mph. You better burn rubber getting to 55 mph. Neither does it matter that the town you are approaching has been a ghost town since 1987. The other speed in East Texas appears to result in a reduction of teeth. So what did I buy in Canton? I bought: 2 antique cameras, 1 slide projector, 2 lamps, 1 lamp base shaped like the Eiffel Tower, SEVEN boxes of 35 mm slides and Phil Porter’s identity. All for $55. Before I attempt an explanation, let me apologize to my family for purchasing a yellow plastic crate filled with the kinds of crap we threw boxes and boxes of HB’s away. But here’s the story. Since Canton has anything you want, if you look hard enough, I wanted to buy 35mm slides and antique cameras. Why is not important at this time. We arrived at the Trade Days about noon. By 5:00, I had only purchased one old movie camera for $20. I was tired, hungry, cold, and ready to go back to the motel. Then we hit the mother lode. We stopped at a table of various items, and let me hear a hallelujah; there were seven boxes of 35 mm slides with 36 slides per box. These were the only ones I had seen all day! In negotiations over the slides, Michael and I began the bartering. But first, a brief character description of Michael. I am pretty sure Trade Days was not his day job. Cooking meth and sampling was probably the money job. I wanted those slides, and the deal went down like this. Michael: I will sell you the slides for $50 IF you will take the 35mm slide projector, the Eiffel Tower thing, and this crate of stuff from a man named Phil Porter. Me: What about this antique Polaroid camera? M: $5.00, but you got to take all the stuff. Me: What about this lamp? M: Free if you take all the stuff. Me: Deal. So, in the yellow crate that I had to buy to get all of the other stuff were the papers of a very interesting man named Phil Porter of Dallas. So, what does one do on a Saturday night in Athens, Texas? They go through a box of papers of a man you have never heard of. More about Phil Porter later.