Yard Sale Report from 07/14/12 plus the Widower and the Catholic

It was an interesting weekend at the yard sales. The weather was excellent and the people were friendly and engaged. There were literally hundreds of sales going on and the competition was spread a bit thin, which is not so great for the sellers, but can be killer for the buyers. The juncture of good weather, innumerable sales, and happy sellers made for one of the best days of the season. Not only were there great bargains, but the day rolled out with a series of interesting and unusual people.

Conch to make into a horn $2.

The first yard sale of the day was here in my own neighborhood, just a few blocks away. I was in the midst of bargaining (unsuccessfully) for a rather pretty hunting knife when the seller told me I should visit the estate sale right around the corner. I don’t usually go to estate sales, the stuff is usually over priced and there are usually a lot of dealers there snatching up stuff like a mall closeout sale, besides, it was the second day of the sale and one of the cardinal rules is, never go to the second day of a sale.

The seller and I could not come to terms for the knife, he had asked me to make an offer, which I hate doing. If your offer is high then you’ve lost money and if it’s too low then it insults the seller. I said as much to him, but he insisted and when I offered $5, I could see it made him mad. I mean, he brought it on himself, but I felt badly and when he insisted I check out his neighbor’s estate sale and told me the man’s wife had died recently, I felt like I had to go.

Well, I’ve got to say, that even for the second day, there was still a fair amount of stuff and unlike most estate sales, the prices were reasonable, moreover, the widower, seemed more cheerful than I would have expected. So I while I’m shopping around, I walk up to the white haired seller and I offer him my condolences. Since he replies in a positive manner, telling me how they had been married for 52 years, I say to him… “So, are you going to sell the house, find a younger wife and move to the Bahamas?”

The guy gives me a funny look and says, “Well, sort of.” Then he goes on to tell me how he went to a high school reunion the day before his wife finally passed and ran into a woman he had dated back at the beginning of time. He said, they took one look at each other and knew. So yes, He’s fallen in love, selling the house, and going off for adventures.

We talked for quite awhile and in some odd way, I thought maybe his wife has finally let go because on a subtle level, she knew that now he would be all right. He said his kids were a little shocked, but they didn’t want him to sit at home alone and stew about things, so they were being supportive. I bought a large conch shell from him, which I will make into a horn and when I blow it like Joshua bringing down the walls, I will think of him and trust he is having wonderful adventures. I gave him my card and asked him to write me and tell what happens.

Brand spanking new Dell Mini Laptop $50

The next yard sale of the day was just across the street and I picked up a brand new Dell Mini laptop for $50 and the day was off to a great start.  I also picked up two children’s costumes, one a tiger, and the other a penguin. They were a total impulse buy, since I don’t have kids, grandkids, or even young neighbors, but the suits were totally cute and either I will give them away or resell on eBay closer to Halloween.

The next yard sale was an unscheduled stop near Lombard. I caught sight of it as I blew past and had to double back. The lady there was selling a whole collection of dragon stuff and since I have dragons tattooed all over my body I had to stop and talk with her a bit. She had a ton of dragon related stuff, some of which I wanted and some of which I did not, but there was so much, that I was having a hard time concentrating. Anyway, I finally just asked her for a final price and I ended up taking the whole lot. I’ll keep what I want, the bedspreads, the rattan dragons and the bronze pieces… the rest will go to friends.

Some of the best bargains of the day were the bronze Buddha door knocker, the hanging Buddha head, the folding table, and the giant palm frond… I also got a beautiful bound edition of the Hobbit, a pretty beat up human skeleton for Halloween, two cat doors, a heavy silver necklace and bracelet for the wife, and a jar of pickled shrunken human heads (see picture).

Bronze Buddha knocker $3

One of the last stops of the day was to a very nice gated community to pick up some knives for sharpening. On the way there, I had a flat tire and had to call Triple A for roadside assistance.  I have no idea where my jack might have gone. So, while the very nice tow truck guy is changing my tire this stout bald man pulls up in his black Kia and yells at me out of his window, “Are you The Patron Saint of Knives?” which, if you don’t already know is what I call my knife sharpening business.

I say yes, and start towards him to hand him my business card. This happens all the time and is generally the start of a new client relationship. As I get to his car, I can see he has a pretty wild look in his eyes and he says, “I don’t care about the knives, but the saints saved my life!” Then he says, “Don’t believe all that stuff about priests and pedophilia! That’s just the devil trying to destroy the Catholic Church!” and I realize that I have run into a crazy person. I’m standing in the middle of the street holding my card out and this man launches into a tirade about how the Catholic religion is the only true religion and how the he loves the Saints, who just saved him from killing himself that very morning.

I can feel him getting more and more worked up and I have the terrible feeling that he’s going to get out of his car and I’ll be stuck talking to him for hours. Then he tells me his name is Michael and I say, “Michael! That’s The Patron Saint of Security Guards, which is what I happen to do as my main job, and he looks totally surprised. It’s as if I answered the great question, passed the great test.

He says, “What’s your name?” and I say Elija, which he happens to know is the name of god. So he hands me a pamphlet on the Catholic Church and a rosary, and then he says again, “Don’t believe all that stuff about the Catholic pedophiles!” and drives away. I tried to give the rosary to the tow truck guy, but he didn’t want it, so I had to tip him instead. Once the tire is fixed and I am on my way, I stop at one more yard sale and the first thing I see is a book on the lives of the saints, which I buy because it is an omen and I am not stupid.

Rosary given to me

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