contagious garage sale bug

I love to watch people’s faces when I say, “I found it at a garage sale.” If the listener is a garage sale-er, the face lights up and we swap stories of great finds. If I see a startle reflex and mental search for the right words, followed by “My, isn’t that nice.” I know this one has never had the garage sale bug.
One friend used to beg her sister to go to garage sales. For years she heard a scornful, “What would I want with other people’s junk?” – until the sister went “just this once.” The sister hasn’t missed since.
I see her occasionally. She wear comfortable clothes for getting in and out of the care quickly, a fanny pouch, so her hands are free to look at the merchandise and a no-nonsense attitude. She has little time to stay and chat: She has many garage sales to check out before the morning is over.
I go for the elation I get when a risks pays off.
Like the stainless steel mixer and matching bowls on my counter. Initially I saw only layers of dirt and rust. I nudged a rust spot. It came off. I asked it if worked. The seller plugged it in and it roared to life with a surge of power. “We haven’t used it much, we prefer the hand mixer.”
Fifteen minutes of hot sudsy water and I had a shiny new stainless steel mixer and two bowls. It was time to test it on creaming butter and sugar for cookies. The mixer did the job with a fervor I had forgotten after years of rechargeable mixer.
Finds like that keep me looking when I have spent a whole morning tromping from garage sale to yard sale and found nothing.
I could always find something when my children were younger. Good condition clothes, toys and books, topped my list after I discovered garage sales.
Before garage sales, toy purchases were limited to birthdays and holidays. After I discovered garage sales, we had Christmas all year.
My favorite was the day I found a huge box of interlocking building blocks priced at four dollars. My children spent the rest of that day and many others designing, building and rebuilding.
By the end of my first year of garage sales, the toy box overflowed. We were ready for our own sale of toys to our third generation of children. Mothers with children cleared the tables. I took the money we made and spent it the next weekend buying more toys at garage sales.
One Saturday I came home after garage sale-ing and my children were having their own garage sale. They had sold all my favorite toys.
That was the day I began cutting back. It became harder to find them something at garage sales.
This summer, however, one rented his first apartment. He called recently with a few things that he could use – second hand would be fine if I could find them.
I did. Now I am begging him to let me go find more stuff for his sparsely furnished apartment. He is considering my proposal. I am crossing my fingers hoping he will accept. I would have so much fun.