Junk is beautiful. And so is the new book, American Pickers Guide to Picking, written by Libby Callaway with Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and Danielle Colby, the stars of one of my favorite TV shows, American Pickers, which comes on Monday nights on the History Channel. Libby, a freelance writer with publication credits that include the New York Post, where she worked as a writer and editor, and Glamour, where she penned a fashion advice column, is also a native of Cleveland, TN, which is home to my mom, Faye Bailey, and my sister Leanne Benson and family. A little over 30 years ago, my late dad, Don Bailey, a native of Athens, Georgia, reported to the Cleveland, TN post office to take over as postmaster. The retiring postmaster my dad replaced was Libby’s granddad, Robert Easterly.
Mike received many questions from young pickers at his Cleveland museum talk and says there is a “Kid Picker” show in the works. The current American Pickers show was the most successful reality show introduced on TV in 2010. I’m sure, judging from all the excited junior pickers at the museum, a young picker show would be a big hit.
Mike also talked about his partner in rusty gold on the show, Frank Fritz and their assistant, Danielle Colby. Frank joined Mike as a full time picker after being downsized from a long time job. Mike met Danielle at a yard sale several years ago when he bought something she had her eye on. Their disagreement quickly turned to friendship and when Mike succeeded in selling the American Pickers show to the History channel and needed an assistant to run the shop and help scout out picks, he thought of Danielle. Producers at first weren’t enthusiastic about the tattooed burlesque dancer. But after seeing her and watching her interact with Mike and Frank, they quickly agreed that she was a perfect addition to the show.
“If you can think of a purpose for something, it’s not junk,” Mike said, near the end of his talk. “It becomes a part of you.”
Mike’s show has already become a part of our family on Monday nights. His book is now in a treasured place on our bookshelf and we’re savoring every page of reading about hunting and picking “rusty gold.” Coming soon: a full review of American Pickers Guide to Picking, if I can stop picking long enough to write it!