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Happy Trails and Okie Sales

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Hello Readers!  The Queer Femme in the Country is now in the BIG country…Los Angeles.  The blog had to have a new name too, so redirect your favorites list to Queer Femme On The Move.  Some aspect of my life is always moving and changing so it seemed like a good new direction.  Spread the word!

“Happy Trails to you all, until we meet again…”

Those last few weeks in Chowchilla were hard for many reasons, mostly emotional.  We will never understand exactly why Angela’s mom decided to make what seemed to us such a rash move to Arkansas out of the clear blue, so I have to let that go.  Wanda’s sister, brother-in-law and niece made a 2,100-mile trip (each way!) out to Cali in an RV to get her and take her back to Arkansas so there were lots of family good-byes that were sweet and bittersweet.

In addition, I had made some new friends that I had to say “so long” to.  Angela is fortunate to have many friends still living in the Chowchilla-Greater Central Valley area and I got to meet as many as we could, carving out a few hours here and there around Wanda’s needs to meet up with people while running errands around or out of town.  Some, understanding the pressures we were under, were able to come and meet us in the country.  Bless them all.  None of you will ever know how refreshing or how welcome your visits with us were.  I felt at times like a bad friend because we could rarely reciprocate and we had so little time to build or develop friendships in Chowchilla.  I only hope those who saw what we were up against would understand our time constraints.

I’ve found in my travels that the most important thing you miss when you leave a place is not usually the place; it’s the people.  Yes the place may be beautiful, or relaxing, or have astounding views or terrain or architectural wonders, but the people are what pull more on my heartstrings.  I can look at a photo of Reno or San Francisco and remember terrific places I got to enjoy, but the friends I made in those places and others can never be replaced.  Thankfully I have Facebook, and Twitter, and unlimited cell phone calling these days to keep up with people, but we all know it’s just not the same as being there.

I want to thank all of the friends, new and old, that made the Queer Femme in the Country experience so dear (in no particular order):  Chris, Dale, Sharon, Annette & Todd, Nancy, Julie, Terri, Cindy-Lou, The Chow Chow Sisters (Jenny, Marlene, Carol, Dean, Wanda, Mary B, Mary R, Dorothy, Ruth, Joan), Mr. Bill, Sabrina, Jennifer, The Girls at Bank of America and Citibank, Thomas, Sandra, Susie, Mario, Joy and Shawnda, Pam, Andrea, Bobbi, and all the girls and boys at SaveMart (especially the guy who didn’t even get mad at me one bit the day I dropped the buttermilk in the store and made a huge mess!)  We were also able to meet some great people through these Central Valley LGBT organizations:  San Joaquin Pride Center, Fresno NewsLink, GayFresno, GayCentralValley and CSU Fresno United Students Pride; you all helped me keep my queer femme self a bit more centered.

And on to Okie Sales…

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The last weekend we were there, before the one where we loaded up the U-Haul (lesbians, remember?) to move to Los Angeles, we had a garage sale at our house.  It is always surprising to find how much stuff you don’t really have to have when you are motivated to pack it all into heavy boxes and cart it in and out of trucks.  Right??  So we had a bunch of stuff we did not want to take with us and a garage sale seemed like the thing to do.  It turned out really well because a) we sold just about everything we intended b) some friends stopped by to say bye and c) we sold just about everything we intended.

There are some interesting aspects to garage sales that I noticed in Chowchilla.  First, people actually still use the local newspaper to advertise.  We did and I swear it made a difference.  Not everyone is all up on their Craigslist in Chowchilla.  Second, Chowchilla seems to have a penchant for having garage sales on Fridays.  Fridays and sometimes Saturday too.  Saturdays seemed to be the 2nd most popular day.  Sundays, not so much.  Occasionally a Saturday sale sign might stretch it into Sunday but not very often.  I supposed this had something to do with church, being that there are so many, but that is just a guess.

Then there is a very unique garage sale/flea market phenomenon in Chowchilla called simply “the Okie Sale.”  It happens on Thursdays only.  Get there in the morning if you want to have your pick of the goods.  I asked around as to why it is called the Okie sale.  No one ever had an exact answer, but the general idea is that there are so many people in the area that originated from Oklahoma or Arkansas that it just came to be called the Okie sale.  A lot of people say they are originally “Okies” or Arkies.”  Hmmm.  I’ll just go with that.

This past weekend I was driving by a Los Angeles version of the same type of thing.  Way different I have to say.  The Melrose Trading Post one in LA looked kind of like this:

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The Okie Sale looks like this:

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It’s a little more rural.  No matter where you live, people have stuff to get rid of and circle their tents somewhere to help you find and buy it.  In the country, I found the Okie Sale was definitely a unique experience of this.   I googled it and checked the city’s website but did not find anything about the history of it online.  Perhaps its just one of those old farm town traditions that all the locals know about.  If you want to check it out, you can find it on the corner of Road 16 and Avenue 24.  Every Thursday but I think it’s usually over by early afternoon; I’m not sure since I was always told it’s best to go in the morning.  If you are in Chowchilla and you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it as part of the overall experience.  Grab a cup of coffee in town and head on out to the Okie Sale!

The Queer Femme On The Move will be thinking of you while I’m perusing the Melrose Trading Post…

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