Bryan’s Song

Yard sales are an adventure, unless you
have to give the laces back



By Bryan Gallegos


Yard sales are fun. There’s nothing like rummaging through somebody’s junk pile to see if you can find treasure.
Wifey is not a big fan, though.
“We have a big enough pile of our own. We don’t need to be importing,” she says. “We’re not ‘Sanford and Son,’ you know.”
But she’s out of town, travelling around the country with my son’s drum and bugle corps until mid-July. So … heh, heh, heh.
I was driving around town the early one morning and saw that somebody was having a yard sale. I stopped and asked a couple setting things up in the driveway if their yard sale was open. The lady – with a cup of coffee in one hand, curlers in her hair red hair, fuzzy slippers on her feet and a burning cigarette in her other hand – invited me in.
“You’re our first customer,” she said, moments after taking a big gulp from the mug that said “Don’t bother me, and I’m having my coffee.”
There was a lot of cool stuff there. Books, lawn furniture, a bunch of knick-knacks, musical instruments, models and other toys, posters and all kinds of other stuff. For a moment, I thought this was “Sanford and Son.”
I saw some pictures of a young girl riding a horse. It a throw-back photo of our cigarette-smoking, coffee gulping, curler-wearing hostess.
She noticed me looking at the photos and said, the frames were for sale but not the photos. They have too much sentimental value, she said.
OK. So, if I buy the frames, what do I do with the photos?
“Take them out and mail them back to me,” she said.
In another box was a bunch of VHS movies. I started thumbing through the box, looking for nothing in particular but then remembering that I don’t even have a VCR. I could hear it now, Wifey saying: “Why do you insist on bringing more junk home?”
The “hostess with the mostess” said that box was donated by her neighbor and didn’t know what was in it. Each tape was for sale for a nickel.
A nickel? Sorry, Wifey, can’t pass up a bargain. I continued to thumb the nostalgic cinema and, BINGO!, I hit the jack pot. There was a tape of Bonanza.
I may have whooped a little too loud, because “Big Red” came over to see what was up. I could see in her face that she was maybe thinking about raising the price.
But I beat her to the punch. “A nickel, right?”
She nodded and asked: “Why are you so excited?”
I love Bonanza, particularly “Little Joe,” played by Michael Landon. He was my favorite actor growing up, I said.
“Never heard of him,” she said, her arm extended toward me, waiting for her loot.
I dug into the pocket and fished for the coin. I found a dime and gave it to her.
“I don’t have change,” she said, as she stuffed the dime in her shirt.
I looked at a pair of sneakers. They were my size and she wanted $1. Pretty good deal.
“But I want the shoe strings back,” she said. “You can just take the laces out before you go, or you can mail them to me.”
You’re kidding? Pass.
There was a small television and it had a tag of $2. Pretty good deal and perfect for my garage. Does it work?
“I don’t know,” she said.
“Can we turn it on to see if it works?”
“This is an ‘as-is’ sale. If you want to turn it on, it’s going to cost you $4,” she said.
Really? Pass.
There was a lawnmower with a grass catcher for $10. And it runs. Wow, that’s a great deal, so I pulled my wallet out.
“I want the gas back, though. I just put gas in it and I want the gas back,” she said, gulping from her second cup of java and third cigarette.
OooooKaaaay. Can I mail it to you? Pass.
She had some cookies and ice-cold Kool-Aid for sale. A cookie and a cup were listed for 50 cents. I was afraid to ask because she might want the ice back.
Ahhh, yes, yard sales … can’t get enough of them.

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