So I made the long drive home to My Alabama.
From Atlanta that’s 4.5 to 5 hours to my parents door step.
I awake the next morning and decide to go treasure hunting. I want to explore, flea markets, roadside stands, and mom pop stores for possible materials for future installs and found object projects.
I plan and calculated my adventure. I will take Florence blvd or highway72 east to Huntsville.Thats about 80 miles of adventure and plenty of daylight. The plan was simple, find treasure and to photo document the trips images for inspiration. I'm developing a new aesthetic called FlorPop.Florence Pop.Im not sure what it is yet, just an idea right now. I think I want to hick up Andy Warhol’s great idea and sell it to NYC intellectuals too. Then do the Whitney Biennial on this Southern ticket and develop my factory called The Farm or The Coop or something. Anyway, I really want to find treasure and have fun searching. Relax.
First stop a flea market, about 15miles into my trip. I go in. It’s the usual junk, but at a knife booth a gray haired hicky man says "I got switch blahdes far 8 duhllars". I score some throwing stars. They were .50cents each. I'm cool with that, so I continue on.
I stop to photograph signs, abandon farm houses, creeks, lakes, trees, and fields.
As my journey continues I speed past Isoms Orchard. It’s been there forever, they have good Apple cider. Out of the corner of my eye I see a huge huge cage of... My eyes see them, my brain fires, nerves tingle, I process the shapes and in 2 seconds my mouth says GOURDS!!!! I put on brakes and whipped it around. From the highway I could see rows and rows of gourds in various shapes and stages of drying. Excited, doing a pirates dance for finding booty I get out of the car. Reading the sign posted that say..."We are tired and have gone into the house to rest. Gourds on the yard are 3 dollars, everything under the shed is as marked, pick what you like and pay the gray box. No shopping after dark. Thanks."
Weird I thought to myself. I got out and I picked my treasures. Waiting for someone to come help me or say "Hey, what'r you hunting." I wondered around the shed, made noise, tried to look suspicious anything to make someone come out, but they never did. The Grey box was taunting me. The honor system I said to myself, Wow who does that. I fumble around some more in hopes to get that person to come out.Im really trying hard, because I don’t want to be tempted with taking more than I pay for. They never came. I budget 7 gourds at $3bucks ea. is 21beans.I reach into my wallet for the money and decide to write them a note.” I am an artist in Atlanta and will be using your gourds in my work. I was going to order some from the internet. Not now. I will take back the gourds as small pieces of My Alabama. Thanks for being here, MICHI. I felt good by the whole situation. First, the find and the absent customer service rep.Then the faith that you will do the right thing.They really are doing this.
I wrap 21 dollars in that note and drop it in the grey box. Thinking wow, I could take all of these gourds, but I didn’t. I cant.Why not? Who trust a customer like that? I couldn’t figure it out. I continued on to Huntsville to more flea markets. I buy a new John Deere belt buckle green and yellow with gold plated trim. The gray haired gent eyeballed me the whole time as if I was going to pull a David Copper field on his merch.Strange I was thinking. The buckle is FRESH, but not as cool as the gourds and the customer service I call The Grey Box Honor System.It is something to ponder.