Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Good Ole American Garage Sale

There's nothing quite like a garage sale! Donna's a big advocate of holding one every year or so. The Ancient One? Let's just say that he isn't quite as enthusiastic about preparing for them as is his bride.

Along with 2 of our neighbors, we had a big garage sale last Saturday. It was several months in the making as Donna decided to clear out, and hopefully sell, many years accumulation of all those things in our garage which we previously could not bring ourselves to throw out. On Saturday morning our driveway was filled with children's toys (our kids are almost 25 and 27); hundreds of old vinyl LP phonograph records (when did you last even see a turntable?); books gathered and kept by 3 generations of our families; pieces of furniture that had seen better decades; old fans and humidifiers; a 20 year old 15 speed trail bike; and all sorts of glass, plastic and metal ware. I could go on and on.

The ads and signs were placed and the people came. I am convinced that the purpose of a garage sale has nothing to do with selling things. If one applied a "labor theory of value" to the event, the gross revenue would probably equal about 10 cents for every hour of preparation. But, I do confess, it was Donna's labor, not mine. And she kept the proceeds to add to a "trip to Italy" fund she has started. For The Ancient One, the main enjoyment of the day was meeting all sorts of interesting people.

There were folks from the neighborhood, some of whom I would wave on my morning walk but had never met before. There were families with wee little one who brought all my grandfatherly instincts. There was the mother trying to help her 10 year old daughter understand how music could come out of those old vinyl disks. There was a delightful fellow of my own age wearing the classiest pair of red western boots I had ever seen. There were people representing all the hues and colors one sees in the population of the greater Los Angeles area and conversations in more than a few languages in which I have little or no literacy. It was just a wonderful day that even this curmudgeonly soul enjoyed immensely. A few items and a bit of cash actually changed hands.

After it was over, all that remained from each of the houses holding sales was piled in our driveway to be carted off by The Salvation Army yesterday afternoon, as prearranged. Except, when we got home last night, most of the stuff was still there. It seems that The Salvation Army is a bit more picky about what makes it on to their trucks than they used to be. Now we have to devise plan B to rid our driveway and household of that which took years for us to decide was disposable. But that too shall happen.

As I look back on the personal feelings generated last Saturday, I guess I would add garage sales to "mom, baseball and apple pie" as one of those things that are truly American!


Eric Valentine said...

Great to be back albeit in small portions right now. Nice that your garage sale was a success, we too are having a "just moved" clearout of goodies destined for the Sally~Ann.. :)

Leon said...

Eric - It is so great to see you back. :~D You have been missed!!!

Shauna Roberts said...

We rarely have garage sales because they are so much work. But when we do, I enjoy them. Not just because it's an excuse to sit outside all day and talk to people. I like all the organizational stuff before. Sounds as if you had a success except for the stuff still in your garage sale. Maybe you need a second garage sale to get rid of it.

Leon said...

A 2nd garage sale? I don't think so Shauna!!!!!! One every 3 or 4 years is plenty for me. Most of what's left will end up recycled or (I hate to say it) in landfills.

Pete said...

You Americans have a special'gung-ho' way about you which is admirable.

Us Brit's on the other hand are a bit TOO reserved. Although very occasionally you'll see notice of a garage sale, most of us would prefer the anonimity of a 'boot sale'.

My two younger daughters have just shot off to do one this morning. It's another lovely day here in the UK.

Take care,