Garage sale mania

Neither Darcy nor I realized just how excited we were about heading off on our first garage sale of the year Saturday until we were about a mile from home.

Neither Darcy nor I realized just how excited we were about heading off on our first garage sale of the year Saturday until we were about a mile from home.

That was when we noticed two things. One, we still had the tank in the back of our truck that we use for hauling water to our cistern. This meant we had no room for scoring some serious-sized garage-sale finds.

Two, we were dragging the hose that drains the tank into the cistern behind us. There it was writhing and bouncing along behind us like a crazy green snake.

We couldn’t believe it. We had simply hopped in the truck and took off with nary a glance behind us. Oh, well. It could have been worse. We could have driven right into town and pulled up to our first garage sale before noticing. Now that would have been embarrassing.

After Darcy finished rescuing the hose we did a U-turn, dropped off the tank and soon we were on our way once again. We had got up so early there had been no time for breakfast so we simply grabbed a couple bananas on our way out the door. As we swung onto the highway Darcy handed me his banana peel and asked me to toss it out the window.

I feel the need to interrupt this story to assure everyone that we are not now and nor have we ever been litter bugs. I have spent more hours than I care to remember slugging along ditches with school children and non-profit groups picking garbage.

We have even adopted the two-mile stretch of road that passes our place. Whenever we go for a walk we take along a plastic bag and pick litter out of the ditches. However, we do toss out the occasional apple core or banana peel. I figure they’re biodegradable, add nutrients to the soil and even offer up a welcome snack to an insect or bird.

So I rolled down the window, wound up to fling the banana peel into the ditch but only succeeded in tossing it on the pavement.

“What kind of a throw was that?” Darcy asked. “You were supposed to throw it into the ditch. Now some bird is going to get itself killed trying to grab the banana peel. Or a vehicle is going to skid on it.”

Before I could roll the window back up and reply I noticed the papers with all the garage sale listings on the dash. The reason I noticed them is because they were lifting in the breeze and being sucked out the window. I watched in horror as they flew by my nose.

Darcy was pretty horrified as well.

“Why didn’t you grab them?” he sputtered.

“It happened so fast. Why did you ask me to toss your banana peel anyway?”

“You didn’t toss it,” Darcy pointed out. “You dropped it.”

This turned out to be very fortunate as it helped mark the spot where the whole sorry debacle had occurred. We found a place to turn off and for the second time that morning headed back the way we had come, keeping our eyes peeled for the banana on the pavement.

“There it is!” I shouted as the yellow husk came into view.

We turned around once again and slowed just past the banana peel and sure enough, there were the papers. I jumped out of the vehicle, grabbed the papers, tossed the banana peel into the ditch and leapt back in. And then … on to the garage sales!

A few years back I got into Feng Shui and simplifying my life. I believe we don’t own our objects so much as our objects own us. Everything we accumulate eventually requires some sort of maintenance even if it’s only an occasional slap with a dust cloth.

I discovered the less we have the freer we are. So I can’t explain why I love garage sales so much. I guess even when you don’t want a house full of bric a brac you still need the odd thing now and then.

Like containers for the garden. Where else but a garage sale are you going to get three huge gorgeous containers that retail for more than a $100 for only five bucks? Or a jar lifter for canning for only 10 cents?

So there you have it. I love garage sales because I’m cheap. And I have slow reflexes. And I throw banana peels like a squirrel.

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from Northern BC. You can read more of her columns at

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