Robertsville, Mo. Swap Meet & Hunt!

On May 6th, 2000 the Robertsville swap meet was held at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Peter Hoffman. This was the first swap meet that Jolene and I have attended. If this was any indication of the fun to be had, we will be looking forward to attending lots of them!

We had a terrific time, meeting new collectors, and seeing old friends again! The weather was quite acceptable - if not perfect. It was a bit cloudy, but the temperature was just right. We had a great time looking at, swapping, buying, and talking insulators. We picked up some great new specimens from Patrick Scott, Brian Rieker, and some of the other folks there.

One of the best parts of the day (the other best part was the cookout!) was the impromptu hunt we went on. Pat Scott had mentioned to me in an earlier e-mail that he was going to show me a place where there were lots of poles just waiting to be harvested of their glass fruit. So after the cookout, Pat, Brian Rieker, Valerie Roddy, Jolene and I all piled into the Wondervan, and headed out to pluck some glass!

Soon, with the assistance of Pat’s excellent navigational skills, we came to a spot along a gravel road running along a railroad just lined with pole after pole of glass. While it was all pretty common stuff, they were still insulators, they were still on poles, and they were all screaming to be taken home! We drove maybe a mile to the end of the road, where there was a gate to a shooting club. Strangely the closer you got to the shooting club, the more shattered insulators there were. We turned around, and slowly drove back up the road, as Brian checked out the poles with Jolene’s binoculars. Presently we came to a spot where there was a turnoff where we parked the van, and piled forth to check things out. I crossed the tracks and immediately found a couple crossarms laying in the ditch. There were no insulators, but there was a bracket still attached. While Pat and I worked on the bracket, Brian, and Valerie were checking out poles, and Jolene was documenting the festivities with her new digital camera. While we explored a lady drove up to check her mailbox, and told us the railroad didn’t like people messing around the tracks (big surprise there, huh?).

Jolene got in the van, and drove slowly along the road as the rest of us targeted the glass we wanted. It worked pretty well – Jolene as the lookout/getaway driver, as the rest of us proceeded to rid the countryside of unused glass. At one point Brian gave Pat a boost to a pole with fairly low crossarms, and down came a nice Brookie CD-145. Brian got a chance to try out the Snag-A-Lator on a CD145 up on the top crossarm of one pole. I found a nice light sage green Hemi-42, and grabbed it with the Snag-A-Lator. We must have been quite a sight – grabbing insulators, running over to the van to deposit our treasures as Jolene drove slowly alongside us. Brian would sit in the open side door with the binoculars, checking the poles as we went along. All this time I found myself humming the theme from "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

As we moved down the line it was easy to tell the experienced collectors from the newbies! I was working on a nice little greenish Brookie CD145. It was a cloudy day, and from time to time, a light mist would fall – just enough to make an insulator maddeningly slippery. I tried several times to get the rubber loop on the Snag-A-Lator to tighten and pull that 145 off the pole. Meanwhile, a few poles down, Pat had found a 145 with a bit of wire still attached. He picked up a long branch (i.e. a common stick), and gave the wire a whack, and started the insulator spinning. As I struggled with the slippery insulator, Pat and his stick went whack-whack-whack, spin-spin, push, plop! Total grab time about 10 seconds! So much for technology! I finally gave the one I was working on a shove with the forked end of the Snag-A-Lator, and down it came – I even caught it as it fell, eliciting a war-whoop, and applause from Jolene in the van.

We came to another spot where a part of a crossarm had fallen and was laying on what was left of the wires. There were a couple Hemi-42s still attached, so I reached up with the Snag-A-Lator, and gave it a shove. Part of it came down, and with another shove, the rest came down. The wood was so rotten that the pin broke off, and the 42 lay there with half a pin sticking out of it. Both insulator and pin have a new home in Kansas City! We headed back with a dozen or so nice (common, but nice) pieces. There were mostly Brookfield CD145s (a couple with spelling errors), a couple nice CD147s (now residing in Overland Park at Valerie’s house), a few Hemi-42s, and a bracket! I think I ended up with most of the others, thanks to the generosity of Pat and Brian – two of the greatest gentlemen you’re likely to meet!

As we drove back to the swap meet I felt like a kid again! Thanks for giving me those years back – what a rush!!

 I've placed a few photos from the swap meet and hunt below. Enjoy, and I hope these photos will whet your appetite for the next hunt!


All photos (copyright) by Rod Shelley unless noted otherwise.

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