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Oh, what treasures you find on curb day

By Staff | May 15, 2009

Her flaxen hair glistens in the sunset as she descends our front porch steps. From the driveway, I admire her-as cradled in her hands is a woven basket containing a delicious trio. Today it is homemade Pioneer Bread; a thermos of hot, drip coffee; and a mini crock of real butter. I pop open the passenger’s door and she greets me with a warm smile that says..”Let’s go!” It is May, and that means ‘curb day’ or ‘take day’ has arrived.

Expanding the depth of your marriage comes with sharing and learning to get excited about a few of your spouse’s adventures. For me, ‘take day’ has always been a real escapade. I look forward to it like a lot of guys look forward to the opening of deer hunting. The pursuit of the hunt can be a real thrill. We had been married just about one year when I invited Jan to wander the streets of Rugby with me to check on the items folks deposited for curb day. She really was not attracted to the idea at first, but you know me – encouraging others is one of my specialties.

Once we were in the car, I quickly summarized past treasures gathered from earlier curb days. How about the wonderful antique telephone and collection of glass shoes I picked up in Underwood as a fifth grader? While in college at Minot State, I delighted in discovering a box of perfectly vintage ties, which I took to wearing. While attending photography school in Massachusetts, a decorative Yankee wooden scale and burgundy McCoy Lamp were added to my collection.

I must admit, I have been blessed with eagle vision when it comes unearthing a real find. We had barely backed out of the driveway and rounded the corner when my glance caught a shimmer of gold. I slammed on the brakes of my ’75 Monte Carlo, nearly putting Jan through the windshield. As I sprang to the curb, I had an inkling this was going to be amazing! From underneath a heap of old, dusty furnace filters I gently pulled a beautiful, round, gilded, gleaming mirror complete with crimped bow as the top decoration (circa 1940). Before my very eyes, I witnessed a moving transformation of my wife, Jan, who to this point had never heard of curb day. Now, suddenly, she was an engaged and enthusiastic fan! It is one of my favorite reflections as a newlywed.

We darted about the town, and before we knew it, our two-door black sedan was laden with reclaimed treasures. A box of books which contained several children’s books and one cookbook was our favorite of the evening. (Well, next to the mirror!) Shoved in the 1950s cookbook were several recipe cards. On one of them was written a recipe for Pioneer Bread. The next year, Jan surprised me with a treat for the ride. It was fresh Pioneer Bread, hot coffee and a mini crock of real butter. For 19 years, we have continued this tradition in our home. Driving about the city as a charmed couple indulging on wonderful bread, real butter and hot coffee looking for treasures – my life doesn’t get much better than this! Last year, Lydia even lunged into action. I recall her munching on bread, and in the next instant saying, “Hey guys – there’s some toys!”

Over the years the curbs in the Heart of America have revealed some fine, valuable chattels. We delighted in finding a Barbie pink sewing machine that still works – under a swath of cardboard; an antique radio table; a vintage tweed suitcase which contained a plum-colored, pure wool blanket that is so warm on a cold winter’s night; a tattered Sunkist orange box divulged a gathering of vintage ladies’ hats and some very old hand-blown Christmas ornaments made in Germany; coils of sturdy metal gray garden fence which could support an elephant (we use it to sustain our peonies). We have also learned that good things sometimes do come out of strange packages. Jan had picked up an old enameled tin of various buttons as twilight gradually dimmed into the purplish night. Years later, as she sorted through the buttons, glinting in the light was a stunning man’s Bulova watch with four diamonds! I took the watch to Lien’s Jewelry to have it cleaned, and they were most impressed!

This weekend brings another curb day/take day in Rugby. Once again, we will survey the strewn boulevards, and treasures may well emerge. Our gathering will eliminate some unnecessary items from the landfill. Now, there is an example of being doubly green!

I share with you now the Pioneer Bread. (There was no baker’s name on this recipe card to give credit to.) I can just imagine early pioneers enjoying this solid, delicious bread as they forged their way west. We also enjoy toasting this bread when we are not out curb-hopping. In our home we fondly refer to this favorite as Pioneer Curb Bread.

Repnow is a Rugby resident.

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