Hoist Up the Father’s Day Sale

yard sale wares

Oddly, none of these went.

While normal people were celebrating on Father’s Day, my neighbors and I held a yard sale. It was not a sanctioned event.  Nor was it particularly reverent of fathers; my own had to wait, until the rain shut down the sale, to begin the family festival of socializing, overeating, and a viewing of The Shining, a touching little film about a father.

I freely admit my portion of the yard sale was weak. There was little of value (set aside for when I learn how to sell on eBay, which will be never) next to the incomplete, broken, and useless items for sale. I also admit I enjoyed watching shoppers regard my sad offerings with knit brows, trying to make polite conversation, wondering why I had even bothered and was I indigent or just crazy. Others glanced about in an uncomfortable silence and moved quickly on.

The few desirable objects I’d included I, at first, priced too high—maybe so as not to have to part with them (mistake number one). As the day went on, I grew despondent from lack of sales and underpriced these treasures, realizing much too late that I should have just kept them as gifts for people I actually know, rather than selling them for peanuts to strangers (mistake number two).

But the entertainment was priceless.  While the big coin my neighbors were hauling in made me feel inadequate, mine was  a Feel-good Mart, with neighbors, nutters, friends, friends of friends, and a lovely new Southern neighbor all engaging in lighthearted convo, some of it with clever volleys and returns—always a delight—and some with thoughtful advice or heartfelt condolences.  I told a young couple they looked happy.  They were. Another couple and I swapped ghost stories.  True ones. Another adored my flower boxes I’d sawed and painted by hand. With reversible colors. I taught a teenager how to clean an antique typewriter; maybe one day he’ll be a writer, or the only typewriter repairman left on Earth. A madcap golf buddy showed up.  We laughed and laughed. Because my “storefront” was right on the road, it was almost a drive-through; I could have rollerskated over and taken orders carside. But I’d sold my skates before I thought of it (mistake number three).

At one point it “snowed” fluffy cottonwood seeds. When the golf buddy showed up, her cheer generated a flurry of sales. My junk was wanted! People loved it as I had, and thrilled at getting it on the cheap. It solved problems for them, saved them a trip to NH, provided a Halloween costume for 2013. Another satisfied customer.

I know my trifling sale and its collateral laffs are nothing to brag about.  I have a television. I see the “This is your life…at 50!” commercials with young-looking retired couples in vaguely nautical outfits and deck shoes shaving happily away at their nest egg, having planned well, invested well, married well, dressed well, monitored their teeth well…roaming a beach hand in hand, scanning the buffet, taking Cialis®…when, in Vermont, we’re selling our shirts to get by. But it was a fun time for All. And I didn’t have to listen to my husband of 40 years tell the same story for the 300th time to a table of yachties (at the Captain’s table, in the Mediterranean!), or tighten my Hermes scarf to protect my ears from our (private!) chopper’s (noisy!)  rotors, or turn my head politely as our other (handsome!) golfing couple (in Scotland!) sandbagged their scores. I set sail when I wanted. Dropped anchor when I wanted. Ahoy.

In closing, your good news:  Prague subways now have cars where singles can meet, dubbed “love trains” by Reuters, so you can be wookin’ pa nub in at least one wight place. The Washington Post was skeptical, considering this train car “a great way to attract unwanted advances,” but I promise you there will be at least two lucky Czechs in 2013 who find nub. Maybe they’ll retire early and linger around seaside buffets a lot in special outfits. Now that’s what I call a good day, one right after the other.

Ann Aikens can be reached at ann.aikens.7 on Facebook, or on Twitter at @uvgvt.

About uppervalleygirl

Columnist, bloggist, short storyist, essayist, author.

Posted on June 20, 2013, in holidays, humor, personal, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I loved that one. So funny. You are so talented. xx,Gina

  2. Mistake number three cracked me up – I could see you skating up to people trying to bag a sale, all the while circling them as they barter for your goods.

  3. From one who’s tried, skip eBay. The whole shipping shebang makes it time-consuming and expensive. I try to unload my s**t on Craigslist first, then I give it away on Freecycle. I have now accumulated stuff though that is wanted neither here nor there and will attempt the garage sale, but doubt it’ll be as fun as the event described above.

    • That is useful info! And you can make your yard sale worth the effort in terms of eccentricity. Yours won’t be as weird as my clientele, maybe (but then, it’s kind of a rough crowd everywhere…) so you could be the weird one. My friend said to people as she grew irritated with people’s ridiculous lowballing (“negotiating”),

      “Forget it. I’m not selling it to you no matter what you offer me.”


      “I would sooner give it away than sell it to you for one dollar.” We proprietors find different ways to make the event special.

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