I was sitting on the beach with my daughter the other day, basking in the summer sun when the conversation came around to garage sales.
It was beautifully hot, the way it should be when you are sitting on the beach and the air smells clean like the lake and summer feels soft around you.
We were trying, unsuccessfully, to pick out two girls from among a throng of kids playing on this aqua splash thing set up out on the lake. From a distance, the figures all looked the same, their yellow and blue lifejackets constantly moving like so many identical flags.
As we sat there, our eyes on the sea of moving lifejackets we chatted about summer and other relevant topics.
“So how did your garage sale go, mom?” she asked curiously. “Did you sell much stuff?”
I laid my head back on the wooden beach chair and closed my eyes beneath my really cool sunglasses, the black ones with lots of bling, and groaned, remembering.
“Ohhh, I said. “It was so much work. I must have made one hundred million trips up and down the stairs carrying stuff out. It took forever.”
She listened sympathetically, but said nothing, so I repeated myself.
“It was so much work.” I twisted my head slightly, looking at her sideways through my really cool sunglasses.
Finally she commented.
“Really. It must have been. It was a lot of work carrying everything back in.”
I smile ruefully. She had obligingly come out with her kids to haul all the unsold stuff back in as I, conveniently, had to leave early.
She leaned back in her chair, her eyes once again searching for her daughter and her niece.
My granddaughters. I look for the girls, too. Finally we spot them. We relax and our conversation about garage sales continues.
“Yeah, I should have a garage sale, too” she said. “I have so much stuff.”
“Yeah! I reply without much enthusiasm.
Garage sales. It seems they go with summer just like ice cream and hot dogs and marshmallows.
Don’t get me wrong. I like going to garage sales. Browsing through other people’s stuff, looking for my own treasure and usually ending up with some item that, five minutes ago, I had no idea I needed.
Garage sales are fun.
But, putting on a garage sale. Not so fun.
Of course, being the extremely optimistic and equally disorganized person that I am, I forgot that I was taking part in a community garage sale until the morning of said garage sale.
I was lying in bed going over my ‘to do’ list in my head when it came to me. Garage sale. You’re having one. Today.
I fell out of bed, luckily landing on my feet and feverishly started hauling out stuff I didn’t need. And then just as feverishly I started putting it back. What if I needed it? Someday.
I found an electric wok in the back of the cupboard, but, of course, I couldn’t find the matching plug-in. I found wine glasses that were pretty but not practical. I found 14 oversized mugs, 30 vases and a whole boxful of scarves from another era.
I found a stroller and an oversized water ski. I didn’t put the oversized water-ski out. Apparently, my daughter has an emotional attachment to it.
Anyway, before 8:30 a.m. I had a respectable amount of stuff set up in my driveway. It was none too early. People were arriving already. And my husband, the introvert, had suddenly turned into a friendly salesman, waving even more people in. He did well, but by 3 p.m. his smile had faded somewhat, the heat causing him to retreat further back into the dark, shady garage.
When we finally shut down we had sold about a third of our items. We were richer by less than $100 and we still owned 30 vases, a wok without a plug in, a barely used stroller and a lot of other equally useless things.
I didn’t have a garage sale on my summer bucket list, but, looking back, I would have to say it was kind of fun.
But, it’s over now! Thank goodness!
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake.