Yard sales: More than just selling

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Summer is a great time of year.

I’m sure we all wouldn’t miss the heat and humidity.

Usually about this time of year, during my younger years, my mom and her sisters always had a yard sale.

Mom would box up anything not nailed to the floor, put it on dad’s old pickup truck and take it to my aunt’s house. We’d set up the tables in the driveway, then put our wares out for those folks who liked to browse early-morning yard sales.

After all, one person’s junk is another’s treasure.

Right?

There were all sorts of trinkets, games, toys, clothes and shoes for sale. Sometimes, mom would sell some Harlequin Romance books that she probably read a dozen times or more.

I’d scan the games and toys that usually took up one table. Some parts might have been missing, but you could still play the game or make up your own version. My cousins and I sometimes did that when we’d play board games at my grandmother’s house during family reunions.

Mom and her sisters always had a good time.

On occasion, they’d run into folks who had been to previous yard sales at my aunt’s house. They’d share a story or two, a few laughs and then give a brief description or two about what they had for sale.

One of my aunts manned the money box.

My job?

I sat beside her and helped bag up the customers’ goodies.

By noon, the shoppers had cleared most of the tables. We’d pack up what was left and take it to either the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

Once we were done, we’d all go into the house and have lunch.

Mom and her sisters would sit at the table and split the till according to different color dots they’d remove from the items they sold. It seemed that mom had at least three or four notebook pages full of colored dots.

When we’d get home, mom would put the money in a “special” jar she kept hidden in the pantry.

She’d pull it out the weekend of Labor Day and take me shopping for school supplies and clothes. My brother had his own job by then and used his money for the same purpose until he graduated.

Now when I drive by a yard sale, I think about those days.

I envision mom and my aunts sitting in lawn chairs, carefully watching folks as they roam about each table. I can hear them answer questions and remember their facial expressions when asked to knock down a price on an item.

Sometimes they’d agree.

If they didn’t, the shopper would put the item back on the table and leave the treasure for someone else to buy.

I wonder if any of those items exist today?

Rudy Coggins is assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at rcoggins@mountolivetribune.com.

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