Trash or Treasure?
I just love yard sales. I love going to ‘em, and I love having ‘em. ‘Cause the thing is, if you go to a lot of yard sales, you have to have a yard sale every once in awhile to get rid of the stuff you bought at the other yard sales, right?
Oh, I’ve gotten some wicked good stuff at yard sales. Like one of them crocheted toilet paper covers, only with a poodle on top. (I kid you not). And at Debbie Ledoux’s last year, a bobble head moose and a hand-painted wooden frog for my frog collection. Score!
I’ve also bought crap that looked good in the heat of the moment. But then I get it home, and think. Sugar! Why’d I waste a buck fifty on this piece a doo doo? I mean, a French condiment server for “sel, poivre et moutarde,” shaped like a toilet? You get the idea.
The good thing, is even when a yard sale find flops, it’s no big whoop. The next time you have a yard sale, you can pass your treasure along to some other hapless soul. Or, you can bring to the swap shop down to the transfer station. In the end, it’ll find a good home. ‘Cause if yard sale-in’s taught me anything, it’s that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I was reminded of that a few years back when Charlie and me were having our yard sale. It was a beautiful day for it, too, sunny with low humidity. The early birds had already come and gone, and I’d just finished chattin’ with Claire Lambert, when who do I see walking up to our yard, but Jeanie Anderson.
My heart literally skipped a beat. See, I thought Jeanie was going to be in Dexter that weekend, visiting her grandkids. That’s what she told me anyways, the last time I saw her. And ‘cause I knew she wasn’t gonna to be around, I decided to put the little picture she give me for my 50th birthday into our yard sale. Look, it was this dark thing in a dinged-up black frame. Some print of a painting, I think, with this old man saying grace, a small loaf of bread on the table. I just found the picture, well, so lonesome lookin’, you know? It’d been in my yard sale box for years, and since Jeanie was goin’ to be out of town, I decided this was my moment to move it out.
But here she was, all smiles, wavin’ to me, her birthday present on a table not six feet away. I wave back thinkin’, Geesh, I’m caught between a dog and a hydrant here. Well, Ida, it was six years ago. Maybe she won’t remember.
I decide to head her off at the pass. “Jeanie! What a surprise! I thought you were in Dexter this weekend visiting your grandkids.”
“Oh, they decided to come here, instead,” she says. “I was on my way to the A&P for some cookie baking supplies, but saw you were havin’ a yard sale. So, I thought I’d check it out.”
“Aren’t you somethin’?” I reply, thinkin’, Do not look to your right, Jeanie. “You know, we have a craft table over there that’s got your name written all over it. Lot’s of great stuff.”
“Oh, Ida, you know how I love crafts. What, beside the exercise bike?”
“Yup,” I says, pointin’ to her left. “Way over there.” I’m thinking, while she’s gone, I’ll just mosey over and hide that picture, right? I’m on my way over to it when I bump into my friend Celina, who’d just lost her husband, Henry. So we commiserate ‘bout that for awhile. Then I get nabbed by some fella looking for Nazi paraphernalia. I mean, come on! By the time get away from him, I look over and see that Jeanie’s cashed out (My niece Caitlin was takin’ the money, freeing me up to work the crowd), and she’s headin’ back to her car.
“Jeanie!” I yell, “come show me what you bought.”
“Ida,” she says, “I hit the jackpot. Look at this: two Barry Manilow CD’s!
“Oh, Mandy’ll love that.”
“Won’t she? I snatched up your knittin’ machine. And this kit for a macramé plant hanger.”
“Never been opened.”
“And here’s the best one. Would you look at this little picture! Isn’t it special?”
“It is special, with that nice black frame and all?”
“The old man looks so...serene, doesn’t he?”
“Interesting. I never thought of it like that! I guess he does look serene. Anyways, I’m glad you like it. Something told me you might.”
“Like it? Ida, I love it! Well, I’m off to the A&P.”
“Take care, Jeanie! Say hi to Bob for me.”
I’m watchin’ her go, thinkin’, Wow! She has no idea. Goes to show, we give as gifts the very things we want for ourselves.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
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