What could I do but swerve and follow?
After finding the place, I wound my way to the back of the house to the ersatz barn/shed. Blessedly, the sale had no contemporary knick-knacks: no legos or Candyland games, no outgrown plastic tricycles. Just an authentic assortment of dusty treasures hauled out of the barn and spread out on planks and sagging wooden tables. A vintage bicycle, with flat tires and rusted gears; several Flexible Flyer sleds, perfectly aged; old tools with a respectable patina of rust; a collection of odometers from 1950's vehicles. That sort of barn sale. Heaven.
On the middle table, under a pile of tin items, I found this plate, caked in dirt.
"How much?" I asked the owner.
"What is that, Italian?" he asked.
"Nah, actually, I think it's French," I replied, with a forced (but hopefully convincing) note of disappointment in my bargaining voice.
"Okay, well how about a buck?"
I shrugged. "Okay."
I poked around among the sundry ancient items some more before shelling over my dollah for this lovely bit of French faience.
I knew it wasn't a priceless gem, but somehow the design, as an old-fashioned French bit of tableware, appealed to me. And the colors were so autumnal.
As with all random purchases like this, I get to wondering how it found its way from the Hamage Moulins des Loups Nord factory in France, where is was created, to this little hamlet near Newport, Rhode Island. And where was the rest of the set?
Couldn't you write a novel just about the journey?