2011.07.13 Spare me from garage sales

Written by David Green.

(The following column was first published July 24, 1991, following the community-wide garage sale.)

By DAVID GREEN

Garage sale number two just wasn’t the financial success of a year ago. We brought in $95 in 1990 (which I’m sure I forgot to report to the IRS), but only about $52 this year. Blame it on the economy. Or blame it on the quality of the items out for sale. 

I place no blame anywhere; I think we did very well. As I pedaled off to work Saturday morning, I glanced around our yard and thought surely we were one week early for the annual trash pick up.

Take that child’s potty seat, for example. My wife had it tagged for $2, yet it had these suspicious brown stains on it. It was actually very well scrubbed, says Colleen, but those were rust stains that simply would not come off.

Eight minutes after the sale started, Colleen called the office to give me an “I-told-you-so” kind of call.

“We sold our first item,” she said.

“Yeah, what was it?” I asked.

“The potty seat,” she replied.

After lunch, I was left in charge for a few moments and made the biggest mistake of the day. I heard someone out in front so I rushed to the door and found a woman holding three stuffed animals and a pair of dollar bills.

She must have been a graduate of the Chris Wood School of Talking Down Garage Sale Prices. Chris has helped my kids obtain some items pretty cheaply.

The woman with the animals had a pleading look on her face as she held out the money and asked, “Would you take $2 for these?”

I didn’t have any idea what they were supposed to sell for. I noticed one of them was the battery-operated kind that sings disgusting songs over and over and over, every time you push on its cute little paw. I saw the rare opportunity to get that rowdy thing out of the house and make $2 at the same time. I told the woman surely I would take her money.

She thanked me as though I had just done the kindest act a fellow could do. Then I watched her drive away in a Cadillac.

Colleen returned and asked if anything sold while she was gone. A couple dollars worth, I answered. She wanted more details. Just a few stuffed animals, I said.

“It better not have been the singing bear complete with batteries!”

I didn’t answer as she ran to the stuffed animal table. I was inside reading about Lyndon Johnson’s decision to halt the bombing in North Vietnam when her attack rained down on me through the open window. The bear was Ben and Rosanna’s sale, so I owe them each a dollar. Probably the kind relative who gave them that bear is reading these words right now. I suppose I owe her a dollar, too.

Colleen says we didn’t make as much money this year because we didn’t have as much junk to get rid of this time. Sure, you bring in some cash with a garage sale, but the real value lies in the condition of the basement. Each summer it looks a little more orderly. In a couple more years, thankfully, we won’t even have to participate in the big community-wide junk trade-off.

Not so fast, says the wife. Take a closer look at the basement. Nearly everything down there is what I refer to as my “cultural artifacts” of the past 20 years. Sort of a museum in cardboard boxes and grocery sacks.

Let strangers paw through my past? You’ve got to be kidding. I’d sooner live in my basement museum.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016