Tuesday, June 2, 2015

One Man's Junk 3: We Finally Meet Dale

he had me at bobo Crypt Keeper!
 In the last 3 years, my family has 3 trips to coastal North Carolina with our respective mates, and each time my ginger and I break away to investigate a roadside attraction in Varnamtown. [Tangent: You may remember it from this post (which is in my top 10 most popular) or maybe this follow-up  filled with insane photo ops like me propped up on a Kotex car or Jamie looking tough sitting on a commode.]  After passing the seemingly endless string of gas stations, beach shops and trailers, we always happen upon a colorful nirvana of old toilets and cars festooned into colorful arrangements only to find out that it is closed. The whole junk yard is emblazoned with anti drug sentiments and is being heavily policed by the most terrifying guards imaginable - a live rooster and chicken. Because we are like moths to the flame of the weird and tacky,  we have always trespassed onto the open (aka not locked up) part of the property (a junk shop called  Fort Apache) to take pictures and bask in the wonder of gussied up trash.

We knew the third time was the charmed one to break into that bastion of junk and see what was so damned exciting behind that back gate that farm animals were trusted to monitor it. We were pretty stoked when a kindly man with little pigtails in his beard introduced himself as Dale and wanted to know all about how these city mice had found themselves in his backyard. I gained his love once I told him that we had been long time fans of his [Tangent: I left out the part that I recently re-recorded his episode of American Pickers because I didn't want to come off stalkery.] my Daddy was a North Carolinian and I been spending summers at Holden Beach since I was knee-high to junebug. [Tangent: Okay. We all know that I am not Blanche Devereaux and  that I didn't phrase it as such, but that country-fried vernacular just seemed apropo.]

Although he had swapped out the front yard accessories since our last visit and added a to scale RV homage to Breaking Bad [Tangent: Be still my heart! I was so excited that I couldn't take any pictures], I was most interested in what was locked inside. And let me tell you guys, it was batshit and amazing! We meandered through an endless literal tunnel of random things (a table of humidifiers here, a wall of cassette tapes there.) with weird and semi-terrifying mannequins and dummies smattered throughout just to keep it spicy. [Tangent: Jamie stopped to take a picture of that nude cement lady corpse (roll that sentence over in your head a time or two) when he heard a creepy exhalation from about a foot behind him. He turned around to see a huge live turkey lurking behind a fake grave. Ya know....just your average Tuesday at Dale's!]

After signing the guestbook, Dale told us to go see the "Town", which is the gated area behind his property.  [Tangent: Because aside from a couple family members of Dale's and because I watch almost exclusively crime dramas, there was a split second where I thought "yep! We are getting murderred today." Despite Dale being the sweetest Teddy Bear of man, I couldn't help but cycle through the normal "Did I tell my family where we were going when we left the beach house?" or "Damn...it would be so easy for him to padlock us back here and make us into mannequins." Luckily I missed the day stranger danger was taught in elementary school because we just waltzed through the gate to check out his folk art oddity showcase.]  Seriously, to show you everything I would have to post a million pictures but here are some of the highlights: 

You'll notice I chose the worst possible day to leave my shoes in the car.
a mural he did on the side of building after the guys from American Pickers came to visit
this out building was kind of like a shrine filled with creepy old Cracker Barrel-esque portraits, old nativity scenes and religious icons and silk flowers. This was the room that may give me nightmares.
When we were about to head out and snapping the last photo of the Pickers mural, Dale game out to wish us off bearing gifts!!! After telling us that we were now family [Tangent: Yes. This was our Fast and the Furious moment.] he left us with parting gifts- a burned copy of a movie shot partially at his junk shop and an autographed copy of his story from a local magazine. Long story short, we finally reached our goal of breaking into Fort Apache...and I got a new brother out of the deal. He is seriously the nicest human on the planet (not a murderer)!
Sorry I look rough, vacation means no makeup and its roughly 700 degrees outside.

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