I like surprises. Whoa . . . better clarify.
Surprises have a certain pecking order in my preferences. I don’t like gifts from my dogs when I’m late from work, unexpected bills, or broken pipes. I’m talking good surprises. Y’know, the can’t-believe-s/he-remembered surprises. Or, the my-daughter-said-she-couldn’t-come-for-Thanksgiving-but-showed-up-anyway surprises. BUT . . . right up there with free-dessert-cuz-waiter-crushes-on-your-daughters, are the surprises in store when I go ‘yard-saling’.
The world is split between those who find such excursions a special kind of torture and people like me. It’s not the bargains so much (though who could complain?). Nor is it the chance to discover new neighborhoods (another blog for those who get jazzed at garden reconnaissance). Nope. For me, yard sales are blessings in the unexpected and are ALWAYS good for a creative jolt.
Last week, I visited one of my oldest friends. The two of us, chauffeured by her very patient husband, spent six hours driving around Spokane, Washington. We had no shopping list. We had no expectations. We had hope, a newspaper, and $20 in ones.
Rosanne has yard sale karma. She also has parking karma (always the perfect space, how is that possible?), but last Friday we drew upon her unassailable ability to make friends, find treasures and barter with the best. We found all sorts of things . . . things we apparently needed with the desperation of a teenage boy on prom night.
And, even better than the gingham apron with matching oven mitts (exactly like June’s on Leave it to Beaver) . . . I find inspiration. I can’t help it.
People are fascinating and the stuff they collect — then discard — even more so.
Allow me to share a few pictures. I simply can’t articulate the descriptors for the nifty, nasty, clever, kitschy, poignant, or practical gewgaws, gadgets, and gratuitous sh** spilled across makeshift tables at both million dollar homes and campground trailers.
This was real. What an amazing and colorful collection? I mean really . . . what isn’t here? A Thumper coffee mug, dairy cows, angels, sand art . . . all gifted or made . . . lives linked. This reminded me of the movie ‘Crash’ . . . except for the lack of carnage.
I didn’t need a suitcase. I don’t think I’d buy one at a yard sale, but I liked these. Feels like an adventure is right around the corner. I’m considering a plot where a heroine buys such a suitcase and is immediately whisked to another dimension/time/culture/place based upon the first item she places in the suitcase. Where would a swimsuit take you? A certain scarf? Panty hose? (this is an obscure reference to a not so obscure novel with the word ‘fifty’ in the title).
The owner of the snake paraphernalia claimed his kids had the snakes and they lost interest. Really? A parent buying their kid a snake-breeding kit? Now . . . a guy between sports seasons with a couple of beers under his belt . . . interesting . . . very interesting.
While we were shopping in his front yard, I overheard him say “yeah, you betcha we still have a coupla snakes. ‘Baby’ is around here somewheres.”
Yes, my thoughts exactly. What the h***?
I didn’t take his picture because it didn’t seem honorable . . . oh fine . . . in truth, he creeped me out. If my book about the sociopathic garden store clerk ever makes the shelves, you can read his description.
I could go on. The teddy bears with missing parts who could give Chuckie nightmares . . . the birdfeeder and cage next to the pigeon-sized roasting pan . . . the collection of pick axes, saws, and decorative swords . . . at least I think they were decorative . . . then again, the woman looked a little unhinged . . . and maybe the brown splatters on the hilt . . . ?
What about you? Where are you on the love/hate scale for flea markets, garage sales and the like? Any inspiration from backyard retail?