It was my morning to get up when Gabe got up, so I decided that, since it was so nice outside, we needed to take a walk. I didn’t want to do the normal walk around the school, and what better place is there to be on a Saturday morning in Beebe than the sale barn. If you’ve never been to the sale barn it’s really a huge open-air flea market/livestock auction. Since my land ownership consists only of a lot in town right at, or less than, one acre, and I’ve never had any interest in farming, the flea market portion has always been where I spent my time and money. There’s really no telling what you can find to buy there. Need old farm tools? Over-the-counter medication? Groceries for cheap? A puppy? Dvds? Guns? Swords and knives? Old toys? Sporting equipment? They’ve got it all. If you’re a coin collector, they have at least three coin stands. The stand where we used to buy NES games as a kid is still in the same spot, and it still sells some NES and SNES games although it has expanded up to the current generation. One thing I didn’t notice was baseball cards. I can remember as a kid there being about five baseball card stands right in a row as you came in.
That’s not to say that the sale barn hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s changed quite a bit even since the last time I was there. Admittedly that’s been a couple of years, but it was still surprising. Now next to the guy selling a zillion different baseball caps, you have a stand selling films only in Spanish. Or next to the guy with all the sunglasses, you have a table of CDs and a radio playing that same Latin American music you hear in Mexican restaurants. Apparently the swelling Hispanic community has embraced the Beebe sale barn, and I think the place is better for it.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the food. There are lots of food stands at the sale barn, but now besides just hot dogs on a stick, you have a wide variety of Hispanic foods to choose from. There are stands selling tacos and quesadillas. There was a fruit drink stand with all kinds of delicious looking concoctions on display in huge jars that must have held five gallons each. There was a lady with a stock pot that almost filled the back end of her SUV selling tamales for $1.00. Everything looked fresh – in fact at most places you could watch them cook it in their giant skillets – and it all smelled delicious. A lot of the stands even had the same look and feel as places I’ve been to in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Belize. It was a really cool brush with Hispanic culture that I wasn’t at all expecting to have this morning. A lot of people around here have never had the opportunity to go to Latin America, and they’ve probably never had that experience. I think it’s great that they can get a small idea of what’s it’s like just by going to the sale barn on Saturday morning. Now I want to go back with some money, gorge myself, and pretend I’m visiting Latin America.
Regional food was well-represented also. We walked by a barbecue stand that smelled awesome, and saw people eating smoked sausage on a bun as big around as my fist. It never occurred to me to go to the sale barn for the culinary delights, but I may have to start making regular pilgrimages.
Next time I’ll bring my camera so there will be some visual evidence. I forget my camera too often.