Losing Our Marbles

An older man asked my three kids today if they, “like to go antiquing,” to which they responded by giving him the looks that only 3 tortured and bored to tears children can give.  It may have seemed to the gentleman that my children were indeed enjoying our tour of “An Antique Affair”–the gathering of hundreds of antique dealers in an old tobacco warehouse on Manchester Street–because they were quietly following John and I through the rows of antiques with smug little smiles playing on their faces.  But, in truth, they were smiling because they could finally see the neon glow of the exit sign up ahead.

It all started this morning when John and I decided that we hate all the clutter in my office.  The only way to fix this, we reasoned, was to go out and buy a new piece of furniture, the sole purpose of which would be to hide the clutter.  Oh, and what a coincidence: the antique market we love, which is only open once each month, just happened to be open this weekend!  

At first it was going well. The kids had spotted a glass jar full of marbles and decided they might haggle with the booth owner to purchase a few marbles of their own. But the marble man was no where to be found, so off we went looking for office furniture.  After finding several contenders, and then going back to look at each one again, and again, and again, we decided that yet another use for our soon to be purchased iphone would be taking on the spot photos of antiques, to prevent having to walk around in circles for comparison.  By this time my kids were dragging in their flip flops, their little eyes glazed over, wondering what on earth they had done to deserve us as parents.  At every booth people watched us parade by, no doubt wondering if we had lost our marbles to bring 3 kids into such a place.  

And then, thankfully, we spotted the marble man.

He was a very patient man, and he emptied the jar of marbles and spread them out for my kids to examine.  My oldest dug out his quarter and was all set to bargain for 3 marbles, which would have been adorable if he had intended to share, but he didn’t.  The marble man must have sensed that this was the highlight of an otherwise extremely dull day for the kids, because he decided that the marbles were free, and then he proceeded to help the kids pick out the best ones to keep.  With brand new marbles clutched in their sweaty little hands, my kids were no longer antique zombies.  In fact, aside from the fact that we never purchased a new piece of furniture, I’d say the day was a success: we took 3 small kids to an antique market without going crazy, and we even came home with a few extra marbles.

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