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Setting things out for a garage sale at 6:00 in the morning is not a thing a normally intelligent person would choose to do. The problem is that normal intelligence flies out the window when garage sale mode kicks in. Sometimes it takes only a couple of days between the first mention of the GS word and the actual why-in-the-world-am-I-doing-this moment.

It used to be fun. When we were thirty, we hauled the boxes of old china out and set the pock-marked end tables on the driveway and never felt the pain in our joints (at least not until the next morning.) I got up at four o’clock or thereabouts so I could bake fresh from scratch cinnamon rolls and cookies to sell to the buyers who would partake of the FREE coffee we offered. My mom would bring her confectionery contributions–which far outshone anything I could do–and it wasn’t unusual for us to make more money from the food than from the heavy stuff.

A side note: My mom was a fantastic cook, especially a wonderful baker. Hers were the first dishes to be emptied at the Girl Scout potlucks, and at the PTA carnivals the workers would try to buy her cakes and pies before the event started. They weren’t allowed to do that. The powers that be knew they’d make a lot more money if Mom’s stuff went to the baked goods auction, especially if the auctioneer happened to mention that Helen Ortman donated this lovely whatever.

At one of our garage sales, Mom set out a platter of a lot of different kinds of cookies. We charged twenty-five cents each, or five for a dollar. It wasn’t often that someone would spend the quarter for a single and not come back to grab another couple of dollars’ worth to take along with them. Some of the cookies were a little pricey to make, others were simple and inexpensive; we figured that we came out all right on the money regardless of what kind of cookies someone chose, because it all evened out at the end of the day, when all the cookies were gone (I don’t remember any time that that didn’t happen!) At any rate, on this particular day, a lady bought a dollar’s worth of goooey, chocolatey, caramel bars without even tasting, and bagged them up to take home. She was back in less than an hour, with an empty bag, a request for all the rest of the cookies, and some extra money because “you can’t possibly produce such great cookies for that price!” Remember, this was a long time ago.

It pleased us to be on the seller’s side of the table as much as to be buyers ourselves. We gave away a lot of stuff, especially to kids, and we made prices on other things easy on the prospective purchaser. Once in a while, though, someone would get our backs up, and we’d pretty much refuse to sell to her at any price. It was usually a her rather than a him unless we were dealing with tools, which is a whole different world. The woman might be a grabber, snitching a thing out from under someone who was expressing interest in it. Or she might be an undercutter, asking prices and then offering a ridiculous amount instead. For this type, we got an absolute delight in selling whatever it was for a penny–to anyone except her.

It’s been a great many years since we’ve engaged in such an activity. Garage sales are still around, thank goodness. As a matter of fact, we’ll probably hold one soon, to get rid of some unneeded things, including some of my mom’s things that hold no special meaning for us. Our kids can do the heavy work. Hubby and I will sit there on folding chairs, looking wise and handling the money.

Maybe I’ll bake some cookies. Drop by if you’re in the neighborhood.

I’ll see you again, after the commercial.

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