I’ve been around yard sales, flea markets, and candy stands since I can first recall. I distinctly remember getting up at 4:00 AM when I was four, holding my father’s hand while stumbling sleepily from the house to the car, and sleeping the whole way to the flea market in the cool, humid quietness of a summer day not yet tempted to awaken to the warm kiss of the sun…
I remember dreading when the vehicle would slow down because that meant I had to be awake and ready to help set up the stand (as much as I could at four years old).
The smells, the faces, the smiles, the exchange.
How the first rays of the sun would warm my skin far after we’d finished setting up.
I remember well.
My father taught me to sell.
I was nervous at first, a timid child, unaware of the advantage I had from being young.
Ummm…anything in the box, .25?”
I declared the price as a timid question. It wasn’t until I realized people would buy more from me because they thought I was a cute kid that I started to gain confidence (That took me a sale or two). It didn’t hurt that Dad told me I could keep 10% of my sales for my piggy bank.
Suddenly the .25 box became a .50 box, and guess what? Things were STILL selling!
Anything in the box, $1.00!! AS IS!!”
I called out confidently to passersby. They bought up his electronics with just as much confidence.
And so I learned to sell things…
Though not without lessons like being ordered to sell all of my toys except three as punishment for having a messy room.
I learned to value items less, even if I’d tuck that lesson behind the blinding excitement of being able to afford “things” for a few years of my life before returning to the philosophy wholeheartedly.
Things are just things.
Yesterday I held a yard sale.
The hardest yard sale I’ve EVER had to hold with the single toughest stand I’ve Ever had to manage.
I sold the things of the brilliant man who taught me how to sell. The man who wanted the world for me; loved me to no end, but had a damn hard time expressing it. I haggled away his prized electronics, tools, and spotless clothing.
I wondered what he thought about how I talked to folks, how I set up some merchandise, the prices I set up. I guessed he’d be proud and smiling. 🙂
I watched my father’s things disappear on a mission to be a part of another’s path, another’s life, another’s mission.
I sold them.
Thank the Universe I didn’t have to do it alone.
“It’ll be too windy,”
“It’ll be too cold,”
“We wouldn’t be ready in time,”
“Let’s wait until next week, we can put an ad in the Merchandaiser.”
To truly understand my hesitation, you must understand this simple fact:
I was NEVER, EVER allowed to rummage through my father’s things while he was alive, ESPECIALLY unsupervised.
That being said, preparing for this first yard sale would be my first truly unsupervised perusal of his belongings, period. No less, since he chose to be free of this world’s demands.
My lover, soul mate, and tireless support system stayed by my side through the entire process; never rushing me, scolding me, or trying to control the situation. He understood me, stood by me, and loved me.
Things are just things.
But they hold such powerful memories.
Some of them are things I bought for him.
Like Army sweatshirts. Lots of them.
That was surreal….
Selling the most prized items of the man who taught me to sell. Yet, not even a quarter of the stuff is gone. There’s PLENTY more left.
My father was a bit of what some may call a ….collector of….things.
That being said, we will be setting up a garage sale just about every Saturday until there’s a sizable dent in the garage. I’m sure each week will build just a little more character, and I’ll cry just a little bit less as I watch his things be taken away by new friends weekly.
Tomorrow’s not guaranteed.
If you love them, tell them.