Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Antiques & Happiness - Mallard Bay Antiques

     Meet Sally Holmes, one of the 75 exceptional dealers coming to the March 11-12 Dolly  Johnson Antique and Art Show in Fort Worth. It's a few days before Christmas and Sally tells me that she and her husband Terry have had three weekends off in 2010 and that they are looking forward to taking Christmas weekend off.

 Sally and Terry of Mallard Bay Antiques have exhibited at 48 antiques shows per year since  1980. Buying and selling vintage western boots, tooled purses and Navajo jewelry is how they make their living---oh yes, don't forget to add in antique sporting goods and trophies, game boards, early chocolate molds and the occasional "what in the heck is that?"

 I expect Sally to tell me how tired she is. Instead, she opens a vintage shoe box and pulls out a pair of bright yellow boots, and, smiling proudly, holds them up as if they were the first pair she had ever found. I know that cannot be true because at a recent Marburger Farm Antique Show, Sally and Terry sold 89 pairs of vintage boots.

The joy in her face as she holds the yellow boots is the secret to being an antiques dealer--to working 48 weekends a year for 30 years. The secret is that, even though she is in fact tired, Sally is happy because of the yellow boots. She was happy to find them, she is happy to show them to me. And she will be happy for the person who buys them ----and who, likely, will be made happy by the yellow boots for many years to come.

There are lots of people for whom happiness is a struggle--and some who never ever feel truly happy. Those of us in the antiques world may work uncountable hours until our knees can no longer support us as we dig through a box in someone's dirty basement, possibly for no pay. But, most of the time, we are happy in the digging. To be a person who can be made happy by a pair of yellow boots--or a color, or a texture or a sign of age-- this is a lucky thing, because the world is full of color and texture and signs of age.

I ask Sally what she was planning for the upcoming Dolly Johnson Show. "Last year at the show," she answered, "I noticed that more younger people were buying things. And Baby Boomers always love the boots because they remember having pairs just like them. My goal for the Dolly Johnson Show is to have all fun boots in fancy colors."

Then she dug into a box and pulled out a many-stranded Navajo necklace. "Look what I just found!" she says, "I've never had one with this many strands." Happy New Year, Sally. I think that you have found what you are looking for. See you at the 48th Annual Dolly Johnson Antique and Art Show March 11-12 in Fort Worth.