Mike and Frank were excited. They had never been to this part of the country before. Their job had taken them too many places but this area was all new to them. FRESH homesteads... Ripe for the pickin'... WHAT could be better?
They call it "free stylin'." Driving' down the road looking for a place with lots of junk in the yard and large out buildings in back of homes. Those places are the best for pickin'. Most everyone doesn't mind when Mike and Frank come knocking at their door with a camera crew and 2 vans of equipment. Everyone wants to be on television.
Mike was driving so it was Franks turn to scope out the surroundings.
"Slow down Mike... you're driving too fast. I can't see a thing... the yards are just whizzing buy," bellowed Frank.
Mike slowed the van down a bit. He had been so into the music on the radio that he didn't realize he was driving so fast. They weren't gonna make any money just driving down the road. They needed to find a pick... and fast. It was well past lunch and they hadn't found a place worth stopping at yet.
All of a sudden Frank yells... "STOOOOOOOP!!!" There's a big barn with lots of old rusty cars in front of it on the right side of the road. Mike almost passed it up. He wasn't paying attention. Thank goodness Frank was. He pulled the van into the driveway. Was it a driveway??? More like a path than a driveway. The weeds were overgrown and it had many potholes. The van twisted and shook as he made his way to the front of the house next to the barn. He saw the camera crew car in his mirror right behind him so he knew they were set. His heart pounded.
He and Frank had been doing 'free style' picking for years and every time is like the first. The excitement of not knowing what you will find. Will the owners of the homestead let them look around??? Will they get thrown off the property??? Will this be the "mega pick of all picks???" You never knew if the owner was gonna have a shotgun and throw you out for trespassing. THAT was the thrill of the pick... the unknown.
A dog greeted Mike as he stepped out of the van. He didn't mind dogs. He had 3 of his own. This dog seemed tame enough. It must be used to people visiting. A young boy came running to grab the dog. "Rusty... down boy!" he commanded. "He's a bit wary of strangers. Who are you???" The boy had an inquisitive look on his face. Frank answered... "We're pickers... You know what pickers are?" The boy nodded. "Are your parents’ home??? We'd like to look around if we may." Frank handed him a flyer from their shop. It read: ANTIQUE ARCHAEOLOGY across the top... then a list of things they were looking for. Old bicycles, motorcycles, antiques, collectables... the list was long. The boy took the flyer and ran into the house.
Mike and Frank never know who will walk out the door to greet them and they were quite stunned by who came walking hand in hand with the boy. She was beautiful... a goddess... Not what they expected at all. This dark dingy homestead had a princess as a resident. The camera men nudged Mike and Frank back to reality. Mike was the first to hold out his hand.
"Good day to you ma'am... My name is Mike Wolfe and this is Frank... We're pickers from Iowa. We saw your barn and the rusty cars and thought we'd see if we could buy some stuff from ya." Mikes voice shook a little as he stared into her blue eyes.
Her small hand was warm and welcoming as it shook his. She said, "My name is Marsha Timkins. This was my grandparents homestead. They passed away last year and the family and I have been trying to think of what to do with the old place. My husband, Robert, is in the barn working. I don't think he will mind if you look around. Tommy go get your father please." Her voice was stern and before she could bat an eyelash, Tommy was off to fetch his father.
She led them to the house. The screen door was half off its hinges. Robert greeted them as she opened the door. Everyone introduce themselves and the camera men got their permission forms signed. Tommy was excited to know he was going to be on TV. He kept saying..."Wait til my friends see."
Marsha opened the door and Mike and Frank were in heaven with what they saw. "I'm sorry it's such a mess," said Marsha, "No one has been here for months. The poor old house is just falling apart."
This was JUST the way Mike and Frank liked a house to look. Marsha and Robert were ready to sell. They were given the task to sort the homestead and if they could make a few dollars... why not sell some stuff? No one in the family wanted any of this rusty old junk anyway.
"May we look around," asked Mike?
Marsha and Robert both nodded yes and it wasn't long before Mike and Frank were making deals. These two were ready to sell and the prices were good. Little Tommy even made a deal with Frank on some small toys. The camera crew made sure to stay out of the way and before long no one even remembered they were there.
The group made its' way to every nook and cranny of the house til they were up in the attic. THERE it was... lying in the corner of the attic... Frank spotted it first. He walked up to it and inspected an end. He called Mike over and the two of them dusted off the years of dirt on top of it. It had been rolled up neatly and covered with a sheet. The dust flew up in the air as they unrolled it. IT was beautiful! Mike and Frank were excited to see this find. It was old... they knew it. It may even be their mega-pick of the week!
The old rug lay bright and colorful as the day it was made. Upon closer inspection the rug had a few holes and some threads were untied but overall it was an awesome find. The reds and greens were bright and you could still make out the pattern. It had leaves and flower buds all over it. The bottom left corner was a little sun bleached but that didn't take away from its value much.
"Is this something you would sell," Mike asked?
"Oh... I remember that rug on the floor down stairs when I was a little girl." Marsha stated. "Grandma and Grandpa took it up about 10 years ago when they redid the carpeting in the house. They never put it back. I wondered where it had gone to."
Mike could see this piece was sentimental to Marsha. He could almost see a tear in her eye. He was sure it was bringing back a flood of memories. He had to tread lightly if he wanted her to sell it to him. "What can you tell me about the rug," he asked?
Marsha told them the story that she knew of the rug. It had been bought when her grandparents were on their honeymoon over 75 years ago, and that the artists' name is Moe Sandalwood. "That rug has seen many generations walking on it. I'd like it to go to a good home, I have no need for it," she ended.
Mike was elated when Marsha agreed at his price. Marsha and Robert finished showing them around the homestead. This was a mega-pick for sure. They found many items for their shops and even Frank was happy with this stop. They waved to Marsh, Robert, and Tommy as they drove away.
"I know that rug is of value," Mike mentioned to Frank on the way out the driveway. He just couldn't get it out of his mind. He KNEW it was of value. He just didn't know HOW much. He needed to take it to an appraiser. "Let's have Danielle find us an appraiser right away." Frank nodded and picked up the phone. He explained to Danielle what they had found and it wasn't long before she was giving him a name and address.
With the coordinates in the GPS they were quickly on their way to the appraiser, Mr. Kepp, with the camera crew, in their car, behind them. He owned a gallery, and rugs were his specialty. The two men introduced themselves as they unrolled the rug for Mr. Kepp. His eyes opened wide. Mike knew he had struck gold when he saw the look on Mr. Kepps' face.
"Gentlemen, this is a great find. They just don't make rugs like this anymore," explained Mr. Kepp. He told them it was over 100 years old and that he had never seen a pattern like this, so he was sure it was 1-of-a-kind. Mike looked at Frank and the two men smiled. Before long the men were negotiating a price and Mike and Frank agreed to sell the rug to Mr. Kepp.
Large bills in their pocket, Mike and Frank smiled the whole way to their hotel. Happy they had found the MEGA-PICK of the century!