Sale of the Half Century

My parents had a garage sale and I feel bad because the old me would have taken a bunch of picture and put together a hilarious blog post about it.  Instead I took just one picture.  This blog used to be the only creative outlet for all my words, but now that I’m writing so much for my novel and picture books, the blog keeps on drawing the short stick.

Oh, the picture?  Sure.  But it’s only going to make you wish I had taken more.

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I don’t know how my parents survived in their house 50 years without getting murdered by this doll!

Anyway, my parents (ahem*DAD*ahem) had fifty years of stuff built up—50 years of well-intentioned Christmas  gifts, lost garden tools, ropes, chains, doorknobs from every door we ever owned, cassette players, tubing, piping, flashing, VCR players, DVD players, garbage cans used as storage bins, storage bins used as garbage cans, murderous dolls.  There were bikes and trikes and unicycles, a sticky rubber chicken, fishing nets, and windshield wiper fluid.  A mind boggling amount of windshield wiper fluid.

It was 50 years of good deals.  50 years of coupon clipping, bargaining, lining up outside the store the day of the sale.  And I’m sure this wasn’t the first garage sale for many of these items.

Here’s what it was like growing up.   Maybe I’d be  doing a project and realized I needed something but the stores were all closed.  I’d knock on  my dad’s office door.  “Dad?  Is there any chance you have an adjustable channel wall mount floor guide roller?”  I always asked with quavering doubt, because what were the chances?  Dad would jump up from his chair, disappear behind the door, then come back with five unopened packages of adjustable channel wall mount floor guide rollers.  "Which one do you want?”

Yesterday, my parents’ yard was full of people happily clutching their new treasures (what a bargain!),  walking to their cars that would drive the stuff to their own garages.  And it felt good to see those piles of stuff go.  It was like everything there was getting a new life, being brought into the sun. 

But it also felt kind of sad to see it go.  My dad has always done all of this for us, for his family.  He bought every last nail there with the intention to make our house, our yard, our cars, our lives a little bit nicer.  And he did.  When the rest of us were heading up to bed, my dad was in the barn fixing and building and apparently refilling windshield wiper fluid, Elvis Presley crooning about hound dogs through my open window.  It was a lovely way to fall asleep.

There was comfort in being surrounded by all that stuff.  In knowing that my dad was collecting it all and dreaming of a better life.

The thing is, we’re there.  He has that life he always dreamed of.  His five children and eleven grandchildren have that life he always dreamed of.  Yes, there will still be small repairs and tweaks to make, but no overhaul of life.  No need for 20 shovels.  Just one.  Maybe to plant a rosebush by the front door.

So it was a happy day and a sad day and a day to look at all my dad collected and all he gave away and to know that it was all done for us.  I am so blessed to be my father’s daughter.

Now, Dad, would you mind stopping by when you get the chance?  I think I’m running low on windshield wiper fluid…

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
There’s no time to cook anymore!  Do pita pizzas count as cooking?!

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