While on Route 66 in northern New Mexico, or even if you are an I-40 driver, be sure to visit Tucumcari. I just spent a month on the road and one of my all time favorite places is Ruth Daniel's "THINGS", a slightly run-down but highly memorable antique/second (or tenth) hand/junk/treasure shop right on Tucumcari Blvd.
The large shop is jam packed with odds and ends from two centuries at least, not to mention the various bone fragments, petrified wood, colorful minerals, and shards of ancient pottery which were the favorites of my son and me. Ruth stocks everything from antique wedding dresses to retro kitchen gadgets, LPs to Bakelite jewelry, local art, platform shoes, sheet music, military issue gear, and aisles and shelves of knick upon knack. You'll have to move slowly and carefully to keep from knocking things over!
This is not your upscale "antique" store. From the outside, it looks like abandoned property. Inside, it's dusty, cluttered, slightly bizarre, (the back room is a tiny bit scary) and utterly wonderful. If you like the thrill of discovery, of turning just one more corner to see what is there- THINGS is your kind of place!
Ruth herself is what makes the shop special. She is a friendly and wonderfully eccentric woman who showed us how to lick a "rock" to see if it is really a bone, (and proceeded to lick a dozen of them) and you could just tell that she loved every item in her place. She has a great sense of humor, sells things she can't even identify, yet has a story or provenance for everything you ask about.
Paul McCartney stopped in "Things" in 2008 when he was driving RT 66 to celebrate his 66th brithday. I happened to stumble on a newspaper clipping, half buried in a pile of magazines, and Ruth filled in the rest. He just pulled up in a 20 year old Ford, alone with his girlfriend, and spent quite a bit of time in Ruth's, browsing and buying and even taking some pictures. No press was with him, but an Aussie reporter was following a day or so behind to get the local stories.
Anyway, that should tell you what a gem "Things" is: if one of the richest and most famous men in the world who can have or do anything he wants takes time to chat with Ruth and shop in "Things" , there is something very worthwhile. It is the unspoiled authenticity of the place, the person, the street, the city of Tucumcari. Take time, slow down, browse and help support the local economy. Vegas will still be there if you are a day late!
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