It’s after nine p.m. as I began to write this thing-a-mabog for my doohickey. My momma and I went to town last Saturday. I wanted to go to Goodwill and look for some books. Some folks like shoes, I like books. To me, books are like eternal friends. My perspective is a bit skewered I guess, but books don’t leave you. They don’t become absent when they get tired of you.
Anyway, momma and I set out for Goodwill. It was a pretty nice day for this time of the year. The humidity is already over 100, the pollen count is astronomical, and the adage, “April showers bring May flowers” is a load of crap here in Mississippi.
May lives up to its name here. It means uncertainty. It may snow or rain, might be 100 or 35. You never know. Anyway, we were driving along talking and momma pointed out my window. “Look,” she said, “it’s a yard sale. Let’s go to it.”
So, I whipped around in a cemetery and started backtracking. Yeah, the state split a cemetery and ran a highway through it. Progress comes at a cost, or so they say. Momma said, “it looked clean. They might have some nice stuff.” I nodded and pulled into a paved driveway. People were gathered under the carport talking a bit animatedly. They had nice stuff. Queen Anne chairs, lineman rigs, knick-knacks, and I found some old Western pictures, the kind you might see on old Western paperbacks.
Momma found some chickens. One was stamped ‘Paris, France’ on the bottom. Guess it was a fancy chick. After we paid for our stuff, we headed on out to Goodwill. It got me thinking about how things used to be. This was before it became acceptable to destroy a whole cemetery to build a highway.
My family has never been rich, we’ve been comfortable before but never rich. My parents worked hard to take care of my brother and me. I worked hard to provide for my children. Hard work is the fuel of innovation.
The point is we spent a lot of time going to garage sales. “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” We may have had hand me downs, or bought our stuff at yard sales, but momma never let us leave the house looking like we were trash.
I swear, that woman could spit shine a pair of old worn-out shoes and make them look brand new. She hemmed our pants if they were too long, and patched shirts when they ripped.
She kept us in line using two things: Jesus and garage sales.
There were no off days. My dad didn’t sleep in on the weekends. Sleeping in for him was 0500. Then, he would march up and down the halls beating on the walls. “I’m up, everybody’s up,” he would say. I would grumble and roll over. Somehow, I always ended up on the floor.
After chores were done, and if dad did not have a project to work on, we went to garage sales. There we would find the neatest gadgets. One time, I found a Stretch Armstrong. I played with that thing like it was the only toy on the planet. Me and Stretch went on many adventures.
Me and momma have seen some stuff, did some stuff to. Still, nothing beats going to garage sales, because you never know what you’re going to find.
It’s kind of like May in Mississippi. You never know what the next day is going to hold, but you can bet the weather guy will be wrong.