2009.07.22 Taylor does the garage sales

Written by David Green.

When my son-in-law Taylor visits, I get a column. What a deal. Here’s his garage sale report.


By TAYLOR BALLINGER

Growing up, my neighborhood had an annual garage sale. It was only a one-day event, so people usually got out around sun-up to search through endless piles of other folks’ former treasures. My dad never cared much for the process. “I don’t know why they call it a garage sale. I ain’t selling my garage,” he’d always joke. Dad was the designated “heavy lifter,” which probably explains his general disdain for garage sales.

My mother, though, was and still is a garage sale fanatic. Two years ago, Rosie and I were home for the big day, and my mother put a price tag on her house and car. She takes the “everything must go” mentality early in the day, and usually by noon she’s all but giving away box-loads of our old stuff to lucky patrons. It’s a safe bet that the things she gives away end up at some other garage sale later in the summer.

This year, our summer trip to Morenci coincided with the city-wide garage sale, and walking around town brought back a flood of memories. A garage sale in Kentucky is pretty similar to a garage sale in Michigan. There are generally five categories of items: clothes, toys, old appliances and technology, books and movies, and miscellaneous items such as the ones David has pictures of this week.  There is also a sixth category of items that is a garage-sale constant: nearly-new exercise equipment. During my childhood we sold at least two lightly-used treadmills and a weight-bench.

On Saturday in Morenci I didn’t see any treadmills, but I saw my fair share of exercise bikes, punching bags and other equipment that was likely purchased during a Chuck Norris induced frenzy. I can’t figure out how the exercise equipment industry still exists. They could stop making stationary bikes and weight benches for at least a decade and every family in the country would still wind up with one to try to get rid of at the next garage sale. Maybe if garage sales were held right after New Year’s Day people could take care of their resolution for a fraction of the cost and we could put the NordicTrack people out of business for good.   

When I was a child, as my parents were pawning off our old computer or glassware (my mother collected glass chickens), my cousin Matthew and I would walk around looking for bargains on movies and sports paraphernalia. When we were in seventh grade we found the house of a man who must have once owned a video store, and were able to walk away with a bargain on the award-winning Pauly Shore movie, “In The Army Now.” We watched “In The Army Now” so many times that summer that Matthew actually said “Pauly Shore is probably one of the best actors out there today” with a straight face.

That day I also purchased the Naked Gun trilogy and an old wooden baseball bat. The famed Leslie Neilsen movies ended up being a great purchase. I still have the first and third one nearly memorized. I don’t remember ever using the bat to hit a ball (or anything else, for that matter), though it does remind me of the year my mother took my softball and baseball bats from their place in the garage and sold them to a fortunate young boy for only five dollars. I must have been loading an old couch into someone’s truck, because I never gave my consent to sell those bats. Even if I would have, the price would have been higher than five dollars! I’d never even used them!

As I’ve gotten older, my priorities have changed a bit. Instead of looking for bargains on wares that I just couldn’t live without, I was more than happy to walk around and enjoy the general optimism and togetherness that comes with a city-wide event like this. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hunt for old records and books, though. I walked around for a couple of hours and ended up with three records (I was pleasantly surprised at the selection of old vinyl) and “The Godfather.” Altogether I spent five dollars, the same five dollars I earned when my mother unwittingly sold my aluminum bats. That’s what I like to call Garage Sale Karma.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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