Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time -- which is the only defense I've ever been tempted to offer or accept.

But it did: Imagine a couple, or a threeple or fourple, out to go antique-shopping, and think of the one in the group who's too chicken to admit out loud that he or she doesn't give a damn what people used to do their laundry in, or carry their lunches in, or hang their clothes on, or -- but you get the idea.

So it seemed like a natural: Go to all these antique shops and look around to find out what else there is to do there if antiques bore you. Terrific.

Well, at the first place, you can walk over to the church and see if I'm telling you the truth that it's really Saint Paul's Lutheran Church. Which it is, never mind that I was raised to believe that Saint Paul was the first and most Catholic saint, even though Peter was the first Pope. There are also some blue irises to look at.

Or you can walk down the road the other way, and look at a rather good example of an abandoned rural building, ramshackle, dilapidated -- a one-building rural slum -- and next to it a post office in a house-trailer, except that the trailer seems never to have been a house but always a post office.

Of, if you're feeling especially nimble (bored times brave equals nimble), you can skip through the traffic to the other side of the road and look at the cows: Holsteins they are, black-and-white, each with a green tag in her ear. There they are, all right: cows.

At the next stop, there were several antique shops all gathered conveniently at a crossroads, together with a real-estate office (open) and gas station cum market (closed) that sells home-made sauage, and a traffic light (working).

The third place was right around the corner from the second place, and the alternative attractions were a closed tack shop next door, a couple of horses in somebody's private property behind, and the discovery that there were a lot of irises, of various colors, along the road between points two and three. The irises seemed just as interesting as the antiques, which is several points ahead of the closed tack shop.

At the fourth place, down the road a piece, alternative entertainments included a branch bank (closed on weekends), two gas stations (both open, but neither offering home-made sausage) and a High's Dairy Store where I learned that in this country a can of V-8 Juice, which is good for you, costs 40 cents, while a can of Tab, which is neutral at best -- and think of all the polyesters they had to kill to make it -- costs 50 cents. Think of that! So much for alternative entertainment at Location Four.

Finally, at the last stop, there was a lawn that looked smoother than my rug, and a tree farm of some sort and, on the horizon, a school. Not apparently connected to the tree farm.

Along the way, considering the alternatives, I did check out some of the antiques, and I saw some really interesting stuff; things people used to do their laundry in, or carry their lunches in, or cut their lumber with -- but you get the idea.

All in all, if you want to duck the antiques, bring a six-pack and a paperback along with you, and just stay in the car.