Flea market features unique items, people

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

CHESAPEAKE - Flea markets offer a variety of interesting items but sometimes, it is the people that are most interesting of all.

"Buckskin Dave" is one of those people.

Dave Harris Sr., affectionately known as "Buckskin Dave," is a leather craftsman, who has been at the Chesapeake Flea Market for 11 years.

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Harris said that when he moved here from Logan, W. Va., he couldn't get anyone to bring his horse up here, so he rode it "sixty some miles."

He has been working with leather since he was a child, and Harris said he loves his work.

"I started piddling with it when I was 10, in Cleveland, shining shoes," he said.

Harris said that there was a Tandy Leather Store near his home and he used to go by there and think, "Man, I'd like to do that."

Harris started buying kits to make things like comb cases. It caught on as his parents started buying him kits to make things for birthdays and Christmas. As he got older, he started making wallets and belts and then he started buying tools.

"As you can plainly see, I've been collecting for a long time," he said looking over his work bench.

Belts are his favorite things to make. He also makes dog collars, key chains and wristbands for kids - which he started making 40 years ago.

"I just do this three days a week," Harris said. "People ask where I am through the week and I say, anywhere I want," he said with a smile.

"Buckskin Dave" was recently making a belt for Kenneth Huninghake Jr., since it was Huninghake's 11th birthday.

Huninghake was doing a little birthday shopping with his family at the flea market.

Huninghake has been collecting swords for three years, and he was picking up some new items while he and his family were waiting for his belt.

"I like dragons," he said.

He and his family are from Texas, but they moved to Ironton about two years ago. His brother, Christian Laramore, who also collects swords, bought his little brother a knife for his birthday - and a few things for his own collection.

Booth owner Bill Adkins sells swords, knives, air soft guns and "a little bit of this and a little bit of that."

"Kids love those things right now," Adkins said of the air soft guns, while he helps customers who are looking at his collection of swords.

Adkins said that he worked for a cement company for 30 years. When he had a stroke, he began selling things in his booth at the flea market as a hobby.

Not far down from Adkins' booth is Anna Leslak, who owns Anna's Beary Best Gift Baskets. Leslak makes and sells gift baskets and everything from babies to NASCAR.

All her gifts and crafts are Christ centered.

"It's a great testimony for kids and adults," she said. "It's a great testimony about the Lord."

She also has a duck pond for children to pick a duck and win a prize, and a craft table where they can make necklaces, bracelets or key chains.

"It's a buck a duck and every duck is a winner," she said.

The collection of individuals at the flea market are proof that the merchandise may not be the only thing that has an interesting story.

The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter throws a dart at a map of Lawrence County and finds a story where it hits.