Anything for a dollar


It rained, of course, as we carried the first pieces of furniture out to the front lawn for the garage sale we’ve been putting off for two years.

And so the next hour was a mad scramble to bring some order to the old, crumbling and very dirty garage, even as the first Saturday morning garage sale-ers found their way down our sidewalk and startled the dog.

For the rest of the day and into the afternoon we sat in that garage, the baby and I, listening for the crunch of tires on the gravel of our dead-end alley or the dogs next door barking incessantly if someone walked down.

Charlotte ate a piece of bread in the stroller at first, staring wide-eyed and the strangers walking in and out. Then, bored, she crawled on the dirty concrete floor whenever we were waiting, smiling at her reflection in the mirror and shrieking a greeting to the three bulldogs in an old, faded poster (that a neighbor boy bought for 50 cents).

And I learned something as the day went on that fast-food stores have known for years: people will buy almost anything for $1. Old rhinestone necklaces, an ancient, tarnished locket, a painted pin, scrapbook materials, old games, DVDs that have been out for years, it didn’t really matter.

“How much do you want for this?” Someone would ask, holding up a book. “How about a $1,” I’d say, and they’d add it to their stack.

A few things I probably could have got more for; others I was hoping for a quarter or 50 cents, but I threw out that dollar figure just in case.

It almost always worked.

By the end of the day we’d made $43 despite selling almost none of our bigger, pricier items.

But we had less small, random pieces, each sold for $1.

***

It was hot, here, all last week – a thick, muggy, oppressive heat that made the air hard to breath. Temperatures soared into the 90s and humidity blanketed us and by early afternoon it was in the low 80s inside. We hung towels and blankets over the light-blocking curtains and ran fans and avoided cooking inside or running anything that would add even part of a degree to the house.

That, of course, included the computer; and it’s hard to write without a computer.

In the early mornings, at 4:30 or 5 when she’d wake and be coaxed back into sleep I’d open the front door, run a fan to suck in what cool air there was, and fog hung heavy over the street and houses and you could see the moisture in the air, warm and heavy even then.

The heat finally started to break on Saturday and today it’s rained all afternoon and the breeze is cool and the baby finally slept in the afternoon after a week of fitful crying instead.

The windows are open today and the air is fresh and clean and I’ve never been so grateful for rain.

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