I have a dream, be it ever so humble. Be it ever so strange and goofy. My dream is to one day shop the Great American Yard Sale. A yard sale that begins in Ohio and follows highway 127, ending in Alabama. Yes, you read correctly. Some people dream of mansions by the sea, or fancy sports cars. Not me. I'm way to practical. Big houses simply mean more to clean. Sports cars have never been my cup of tea. Thanks to my dad I grew up surrounded by cars of all makes and models. They hold no appeal. Besides, the faster a car goes the more it costs to insure. No hefty bills for me, I'm a cheapskate. Hence my love for yard sales.
My love for other peoples' cast offs began with my Grandma. As a small child she took me to a yard sale and gave me a quarter for a stuffed dog. I was hooked. Over the years my Grandma and I have spent many, many hours together at yard sales. Some we have held ourselves and some we've shopped. Until last year if you had told me that my neighborhood was having a street sale you would have sent me into a state of euphoria. To dig around in my basement unpacking boxes of junk gave me unmitigated pleasure. A discarded toy of my son's covered in dust would be lovingly wiped clean and smacked with a bright, yellow sticker proclaiming it's value a dollar. Computer monitors and keyboards that belonged to yesterday's technology lived to see the light of day once more.
Bright and early on the day of the sale my Grandma, mom and I would set up our lawn chairs amongst our unwanted items. We'd perch there all afternoon, a trio of garbage guardians. Sometimes, we would be joined by another family member. Over the years those members stopped pitching in. They began to speak to us of places like Goodwill and City Dump. The fools. They didn't understand that to sit in the summer sun for hours on end was worth every bit of the $30.00 we made. Because it wasn't really about the thirty dollars. It was about possibly making way more than thirty dollars. It was about just hanging out and talking and meeting new people.
Until last summer. My Grandma, mom, aunt and I joined forces at a yard sale the local town hall was putting on. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't even live in the state anymore and had further to haul to my stuff. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't even make enough to fill my gas tank, (that's most likely the reason) but I told my Grandma I was through with hosting yard sales every summer. I think I broke her heart that day. We could still visit. If she liked we could even prop open her garage door and sit in lawn chairs in the drive. It would seem almost like old times. She wasn't biting.
So, my days of holding yard sales are over. Hello, Goodwill. Still, the dream of shopping the Great American Yard Sale persists. I'm not sure why. My mom and aunt have done it. I've heard their stories. I've seen the stuff they've bought. I may not be missing out on much, but I'd like to see it for myself. To wander around other peoples' yards and sift through the things they no longer want is to peek into their souls. Once I've flipped through their old cookbooks and pushed on their discarded bookcase to test it's sturdiness, even though I have no real intention of purchasing it, I would move on to the next yard. Always searching for a great find. Something that would be worth breaking a five dollar bill for. It's the endless possibilities that hold so much appeal. Possibilities that stretch across 654 miles beckon. For me it's the stuff dreams are made of.