No. 745

Like millions of other Americans, I have Type II diabetes. It may be hereditary, but all the sweets that Viola has made and I have consumed over the years did not help any, either. At this point later in life I am sentenced to medication, reading food labels and going to the fitness center two or three times each week to work out. I use that last term loosely. I forgot to mention, I also prick my finger each morning to take my blood sugar reading. So far I am making it fine. One thing I have found that works for me is more physical work, especially the out-in-the-yard variety. As a hobby I have decided to do something that I have never had much interest in before. I am starting a “backyard nursery” to grow plants.
It’s a lot of fun, and that rake, shovel and wheelbarrow routine is doing wonders for my sugar level.
One of the things that I needed for my project is a used fish tank or aquarium to make a homemade propagation box to root cuttings. That’s another story. I could have gone to the pet store and purchased a new one, but often they can be found at yard sales if you stumble onto one, but you would miss a lot of the fun and be out a few extra dollars. I am not a yard sale person, but a friend told me that I may find one at the St. Joseph Flea Market, which is really the purpose for this column.
We have a large Catholic community here, and each year they have a fund raising bazaar that helps support the church, their schools, and other projects in the community. While we are not Catholic, we have a lot of friends who are and I have a deep respect for the values they hold dear and practice in their daily lives, especially the work ethic. I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that these people “work” and that’s one of the reasons you will find most of them very successful. One of the features that the St. Joseph Bazaar has had in past years is a flea market, where you can find most anything you need, all the way from A to Z. The flea market has been a real success and, after the bazaar each year, they would have tons of things left over to store for the following year.
I don’t know how the decision came about, but they now have the flea market open the year around. They have all kinds of stuff, and the price is right. Now, here is what I observed when I went down to purchase that used fish tank that I mentioned earlier. First, the flea market is staffed by all volunteers, members of the church, who are “giving back,” a favorite theme of mine. I had made a phone call and talked with Helen Kordsmeier, whose family has been around our community for several decades. She told me that she was a regular reader of my column, and that they did have a used fish tank, for the tidy sum of $10. I told her to hold it and I would be along to pick it up.
When I got there the first person I met was Bill Hegeman, former general manager of the city’s utility and a pillar of our community, who was there as a volunteer. After a warm greeting from Bill, I asked to meet and visit with Helen Kordsmeier. She was in a back room sorting the various items that were donated, to be placed on the shelves for sale. She showed me two different piles she was working on, one that was for “recycling” and the other to become merchandise.
She said, “We are keeping all of this out of the landfill and with today’s economy a lot of people are struggling, and can’t even afford to buy most of these items at Walmart.”
Every community needs an all-volunteer flea market, like this one.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)