The first Friday after Memorial Day, the real Memorial Day of May 30th, our neighborhood has a yard sale – a VERY BIG yard sale.
How big is it, you ask. So big, that food concession trucks are brought in along with port-a-potties and hand-washing stations. High school band members, a few brass pieces and some drummers, open the sale on Friday morning and members of a different school band close it, on Sunday night.
Yep – THAT BIG.
It shuts down every night at 5pm and when I came home from work on Friday night, neighbors were putting their stuff back inside, the windows and awnings of the concession stands were down, and most importantly, my parking space was waiting for me.
I think the sale is in its 35th year, encompassing 24 square blocks, and you don’t have to participate if you don’t want to, or you can sell for one day, the three full days, or anything in-between.
Sometimes I get amnesia, getting all wrapped up in the hype of the sale, and forget how much work is involved if you’re a seller. But this year my synapse’s were connecting like gangbusters, so I didn’t, and it was a whole lot more fun.
Saturday morning I got up, got my coffee, and by 8:30am I was getting comfortable on my front porch to sit back, relax, and people watch.
It didn’t take long for the early birds to arrive – and sales were being made before I had my second sip.
Card tables, blanketed lawns, porches draped in clothesline, fences festooned with hanging clothes, and driveways covered with fat, balloon-tire, plastic trike’s, overflowed. To paraphrase George Carlin, in looking at all this junk, if their stuff is valuable – my stuff should be off the chart!
A woman with the serpentine tubes of an electric towel dryer draped around her neck walked by, and for a second, I thought I was watching an original Star Trek episode or she was Elizabeth the 1st in one of those starched, ruff collars.
Some folks seem to be on a mission, they are deadly serious; their heads swiveling, their eyes scanning, they stop and go from table to lawn to driveway, checking out every sale along the block.
When these serious types find something, they give the marked price, put the item in their own bag, and move on almost surreptitiously. Maybe they watch too much Road Show, hoping for a long lost Van Gogh.
Others seem to zigzag everywhere, crossing in between parked cars, not making it to the intersections, landing in the middle of the block, and heading for whatever catches their eye.
When they find a treasure, everybody knows it, they hoop and holler, they couldn’t be happier, and that pink and purple ashtray, is like finding the Holy Grail.
Then there are the “Generals” – someone who’s in charge, or through a coup, takes charge, of a little band of bargain hunters. Every once in a while, this group will stop, and the General will give orders; OK – we’ll do both sides of this block, but when we get to the intersection, Marge, you go left and Harry, you go right.
Yeah – like she’s gonna’ pay a finders fee for a 3-legged, corner table, painted white, under $10. huh !
Sitting on my front porch for most of the morning, I still didn’t discover the answer to something I’ve wondered about for years ~ do yard-saler’s bring those baby strollers, wheelbarrows, and little wagons with them or buy them along the way?
And hey, isn’t that mini-fridge crushing the kid in that stroller?