Sparkle of a lamp
By RANDY GONZALES
Tim Miller collects things. Not anything in particular, just things that catch his eye.
There was a time when kerosene lamps were high on the list for Miller and his wife, Linda. Now, there are kerosene lamps in the living room and more in the basement, where most of Miller's collectibles are displayed.
"We got into kerosene lamps," Miller said. "There's all kinds of kerosene lamps around here."
Miller's three children also have benefited from his hobby.
"I've furnished the kids' homes with antiques," he said.
Miller also does furniture restoration in his garage. He used to do it full-time, but after back surgery in 2006, he's slowed down. Sometimes friends bring over a piece; sometimes he finds them on his own. He just finished a rocking chair.
"It was always a hobby," Miller said.
Miller said his mother-in-law, who owned an antique shop in Russell, got him interested in antiques when he first met Linda.
"I just started restoring furniture," he said. "We bought, sold and collected for 50-some years.
"It was kind of a hobby that flourished."
Another hobby for Miller was collecting baseball cards. He already had thousands of them when he decided to stop collecting them in 1985 when the players went on strike.
But he's made up for that with a treasure trove of collectibles in his basement. For a time, tin thermometer signs was what he desired. So, in the basement are more than a few of them, including desirable Coca-Cola ones.
"We just collect a little bit of everything," Miller said. "To some people, this probably would just be a menagerie.
"I got on a kick of tin thermometers, you know. Some of those 20 years ago weren't so bad. They're kind of pricey now days."
Miller, 67, still collects, but it's harder these days. There are fewer and fewer things he likes at auctions.
And, his children have let Miller know what their wishes are.
"I guess after 50 years of collecting, my kids are trying to get me to downsize," Miller said.
Then, he paused. Miller can't help himself.
"If I see something I can't live without, I'll try to buy it," he said. "But I'm also trying to get rid of a lot of stuff at the same time.
"It's just a never-ending battle."