Attention shoppers! The world’s largest Yard Sale is approaching. Four days, August 4 – 7, along 690 miles of U.S. Highway 127, from Addison, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama, you will find more lamp shades, hub caps, ragged sofas, wire cutters, scuffed-up golf balls and used baby shoes than you ever dreamed possible.
For several years I’ve covered a 20-mile stretch of the Yard Sale between Lawrenceburg and Harrodsburg, Kentucky.
Here’s what I’ve missed.
I have driven past Norma’s Collectables and Cactus every week, for the past five years, on my way to our farm in Salvisa, KY.
I wondered what was going on. I dropped in last week and met Norma Dennis.
Norma got the cactus bug shortly after she married Ralph Dennis in 1947. Her daddy had a grocery story in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky and another country store on the Ballard Road, 15 miles away. She and her husband ran the Ballard Road store.
Her mother always kept a few cactus and Norma took a few pieces with her to the country store. Her husband made little wooden boxes for the tiny collection. Soon customers were admiring cactus and asked if she would sell them “slips” – little pieces from Norma’s cacti and succulents.
In 1962, the family took a trip out west. The kids got to see places they’d studied in school. Disneyland was their real goal. Norma had other ideas. “I was looking for cactus.”
There were no restrictions on digging cacti back then. By the time they’d seen the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and the Painted Desert, the car trunk was loaded with agaves and bunny ears (opuntias). After they were potted up, and placed around the Ballard Road store, Norma explained, “You could imagine how much interest that created.”
Vacations were planned around cacti. She and Ralph would drive their pick-up truck with a camper top across the country to California to buy small cacti wholesale. They’d load up the truck, boxes stacked high, and drive home. They’d sell the load of cacti, and then return, to repeat the process each year for the next 24 years.
Norma moved adjacent to the busy, four lane U.S. Highway 127 on July 4, 2010. Norma’s Collectables and Cactus is a mile north of the Bluegrass Parkway, on the left side. The store is open 9:00 – 5:00 but closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Norma has lots of small cacti for sale. The store is fun, too. Santa cookie jars, Coca Cola memorabilia and lots of Cactus collectables line the shelves.
You can’t miss Norma’s Collectables and Cactus. A big American flag waves in the wind out front, but it’s the Cactus collection that will catch your eye.
I asked Norma if she was busy during the annual 127 Yard Sale. Unable to hide her sweet smile, she said, “I imagine. ”
Posted by Allen Bush on July 27, 2016 at 7:45 am, in the category Unusually Clever People, What's Happening.