Wondering why anyone would be having a garage sale in the middle of December and lured by a hand-scrawled sign laced with gold garland onto a recycled wire frame, I made a U-turn across the boulevard returning with hope for an answer.
As always, the story is greater than the question.
Most of what was displayed on the driveway and carefully arranged and tagged on tables in the garage were Christmas items.
Strands of Christmas lights, untangled from storage for almost a year sat next to a table filled with a collection of dolls, bric-a-brac, and cookie jars bearing a common gingerbread theme
Tables along the walls displayed animated Santas, snowmen, Christmas candles, and what appeared to be clothing remnants from summer garage sales.
Two women scurried through the tables after the previous customer rearranging and realigning the motley assortment of holiday fare welcoming me with a verbal greeting and great smiles. Both mentioned, in the traditional greeting to establish commonality, the unusual warm weather and the lack of rain predicted in the forecast.
As I usually do, I began a dialogue to discover more about the people I’d just met. In their garage, In their home, Selling pieces and parts of their lives. To strangers.
Most of what was for sale belonged to their extended family with a few items from their house.
Everyone was downsizing, Some out of necessity because of foreclosure after having lost a job, or illness, or the combination of several difficulties increasing the burden of life.
I told them I’d probably be of little help as my family was also downsizing because we no longer had kids at home and thought some of the items we’d collected over 46 years of marriage might be better placed in one of their homes or donated to a friend who runs a charity for at-risk children.
I did take note of several pieces for a friend with a friend with a store that sells vintage items.
I sorted through a small box of records despite a warning of forgiveness that all I’d probably find were old polka dance albums. Among the albums were some Dixieland, a Ray Conniff Christmas album, and a Lenny Dee album. Dee, a popular organist in the 50s and 60s whose style of music diminished in popularity about the time the Beatles arrived, had played at Buckeye Lake. The album was probably bought after hearing one of his concerts at the once popular Buckeye Lake Park.
The cover, above, was spectacular. I couldn’t remember hearing or listening to Dee. His music is not part of my memory. All I have is what I could conjure up from this 50s-styled, idealized, bachelor dream cover with promises of hearing “I’m a dreamer, aren’t we all,” “Tenderly,” and “Mood Indigo.”
My very vocal enthusiasm about the cover was greeted with “You can have it. It’s yours.”
My grandmother, Arnie Abstein, taught me simply say “Thank you very much” when offered a gift. No discussion. No argument. Offer a heartfelt thanks and enjoy the gift. Any other response draws attention to self and away from the gift and giver.
I’m sure the expression on my face was sufficient to keep my grandmother and the giver pleased.
Even with all the troubles of the moment, someone recognized the joy of giving a surprise gift.
This was a good thing that happened to me today.