People in Clearmont take their rummage sales seriously.
Though home to fewer than 200 people, the little village along Highway 72 attracts visitors from all over Nodaway County a couple of times each year when the Clearmont Community Club organizes town-wide garage sale days in the spring and fall.
Most of the sellers offer the usual fare – old clothing, paperback books, bits and bobs of used furniture – but at least a couple of them display, at least to experienced eye, treasure troves of collectibles and antiques ranging from the beautiful to the slightly bizarre.
So if you need, say, a large Shirley Temple doll, a vintage pair of ice house tongs or a mint-condition Star Trek wristwatch, Clearmont was the place to be Saturday as residents set out long tables in driveways and front yards in a bid to attract passing customers.
What makes yard sale day in Clearmont special is that the town happens to be home to a couple of serious collectors, the kind of people who take trucks and trailers to estate sales and auctions then drive them back home filled with stuff. The "American Pickers" reality show guys would go nuts in this place.
Retired Missouri Department of Transportation employee Marvin Evans, for example, has for years made a hobby of buying everything from player pianos to old metal fans.
One of the pianos and several of the fans were sitting outside his house this weekend awaiting buyers, as were an assortment of old radios, books, kitchen knick-knacks and rocking chairs.
Evans' daughter-in-law Melissa Evans rang up a steady stream of purchases on a working antique cash register that looked and sounded like it came straight out of a rural dry goods store around 1925.
"It just multiplies," said Marvin's wife, Lillian, who seemed a little bemused about her husband's collecting hobby, a pursuit that has filled up a couple of buildings. "He goes to a lot of auctions."
Just down the street from the Evanses is the home of C. Jay and Faye Smith, another retired couple who caught the collecting bug decades ago and who are Clearmont yard sale day regulars.
The Smiths specialize in antique toys and dolls, a fair sampling of which lined the walls of their large detached garage, which still had room for C. Jay's gleaming early 1950s Ford F-1 pickup truck.
There was also a sampling of vintage music paraphernalia, such as a bound collection of sheet music from 1948 featuring early hits by legendary country and western singer Ernest Tubb.
Faye Smith said the couple's collecting days have largely come to an end, and that they view the twice-yearly yard sales an opportunity to thin out their inventory a little bit. Not that the collection has diminished all that much.
Page 2 of 2 - "We've still got a lot of stuff left," she said. "It's the kind of hobby that you don't really get rid of until you die.