Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Tag Sales
I've never lived anywhere they're really called that, but "Tag Sales" sounds so much more quaint than "yard" or "garage", don't you think? Like something Martha would go to, where of course she'd find exquisite pieces of china and turn them all into bird feeders. Or she'd buy old buttons, and make all her friends lovely jewelry to wear on their sweaters.

So I've been in the mood, lately, to go to Tag Sales on Saturday mornings. The last few weeks Leslie and I have started our day with a run through Starbucks, or I make homemade vanilla lattes, we grab the piece of torn newspaper listing all the sales, a local map, and we're off. With a baby in tow, and lots of one dollar bills.

In the past few weeks we've found all sorts of treasures. I picked up a spare microwave for $15 to have around the next time ours breaks and it takes the usual three weeks to repair. A wonderful end table with drop down leaves, and big wooden wheels on it; a small metal rack to hold the firewood indoors; shelves for the basement project, favorite books or future reads; a stroller, too many items to list, or recall.

This past Saturday here's what I brought home:

Music for beginning piano, that I'd previously bought, and given away.

A book of piano Christmas music, simple enough I may learn to play the songs. In time for Christmas. This year.

A pink Baby Gap coat for Miss Addison to wear this winter, when Texas finally cools off.

A lovely jumper for same sweet baby girl, to wear next Spring, when it starts to heat up again.

Funky teal-green slippers with pom poms on them, to put in the guest room for an overnight visitor. (I'll wash them first!) If I were an overnight guest in someone's home, I'd think these were very fun.

A 2007 calendar of quilt patterns, one per day, for my quilt room.

A quilt rack, for $5.00!

A VCR of "How to Make An American Quilt" to take to our Quilt-by-the-Sea trip. Perfect!

More fun than the treasures we found, was observing the people holding the sales. One was run by a single person, with her stuff neatly organized and labeled, and she wouldn't budge on the prices (of course I offered less!). Some were held by a group of girlfriends, with stuff strewn across the lawn, and they just wanted to get rid of their over-buying, or toys that were threatening to take over the house. Or spend the morning together, eating donuts in the garage, a completely valid reason to hold a tag sale.

One woman who hosted a sale this past weekend wore a t-shirt that said, "I'm not the girl down the street, I'm the B---- next door". She had teenagers, younger children, and her husband was a professional ball player. Her home was lovely. Somehow the t-shirt just amazed me. Who would wear such a thing? I could be wrong, but I don't see us being close friends anytime in the near future. She scared me just a little bit.

One woman offered raffle tickets, one for each $10 you spent, and she would draw one name to give away a baby quilt. I never would have thought of that! I believe she may have a few more bingo games under her belt than I do. She had a little hot-rod in her garage, but explained if she sold it, she'd have to call a divorce attorney.

One man was selling his elderly mother's belongings, after moving her into an asst. living facility. What I thought were old, fire-hazard appliances had become "retro" and the prices were unbelievable. Somehow it seemed like her things should be treated with more dignity, handed down to family members who would treasure them, use them. I'm pretty sure that women selling them would have felt more fitting also. My eye went immediately to an old metal sifter, with a red wooden handle. $12.50. A man would have considered any possible uses for it in his garage, and moved on. A female would have conjured up memories of sugar cookies, or cake flour being sifted. Shown it the respect it deserved for a job well done. Then hopefully given it to a grand-daughter at her wedding shower, even if she had to store it for a few years before doing so. What would he have done with the $12.50 he asked, had he gotten it? Unless it was to take his mother flowers, I can't think of anything fitting. How do you sell your mother's flour sifter? I'm not even a pack-rat but some things are holy.

How often do we drive down neighborhood streets, at night, looking in for a glimpse of others lives? Tag sales - not only do they offer us a chance to bring home a treasure, giving it a new lease on life, sometimes they offer us a peek at other's lives, with lessons for living included in the price, if we pay attention.

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  posted at 5:30 PM

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    Girl Raised in the South

    I have a deep, abiding love for full octane coffee, sewing, knitting, quilting, reading, cooking, gardening, God and my family - not in that order.

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