Whitesburg KY

Shopping upscale yard sales

What Loretta and I really need is a Volkswagen Beetle or some other vehicle that gets 40 or so miles to the gallon and has virtually no room for cargo.

And this is the automobile we need to use when we take off yard sale-ing on crisp spring Saturday mornings seeking treasures among other folks’ junk.

We leave home telling ourselves that the goal is to find enough stuff worth more than what it will cost us in gasoline to drive to Lexington and back. It’s also interesting to me to see what people who live in these upscale “gated” communities want to get rid of so badly that they will let riffraff like us wander about the neighborhood without RSVP invitations.

Usually I don’t care if we actually buy anything or not, even though we always do. I’m mostly just curious to find out what it is about these places that they are trying to keep the rest of us from discovering.

The big thing among the snobbier set these days is to have neighborhood association yard and garage sales. It’s against the rule, you see, if you live in one of these places to just up and decide you want to have a yard sale by yourself. So apparently all the people who live behind the gates get together over margaritas and agree that it’s OK if they all do it at the same time.

So they set a date and chip in two bits or so each to buy one advertisement in the paper and announce whatever number of families will be participating and that the gates open at 8 a.m. and they want you out of there by 2 p.m. I don’t know what they’d do if you hung around much later than that but I do know that I wouldn’t want to get locked in.

We were in one “gated community” last Saturday that must have had 300 homes and at least a third of them were having yard and/or garage sales while the other two thirds had people out hurriedly fetching their morning papers and frowning – fearful, I suspect, that they might come in contact with one of us alien shoppers and catch whatever affliction it is we have that makes them live behind gates to begin with.

You could tell that the people who were not having sales must not have been in on the association meeting when they voted to allow this fiasco.

I can work an individual yard sale in about two minutes, which is why I take a good book and half a gallon of coffee with me so that I can sit in the car and read while Loretta takes her good easy time.

By the time I’d scouted out 25 or so, Loretta was up to the third place I’d stopped.

I hadn’t bought anything but a guy had given me three full 80- pound bags of mortar mix and three 50-pound bags of sand along with eight very nice, stained-pine, five-foot shelving boards. He had intended to build a flower garden in his yard, he told me, but found out he wasn’t allowed to after he read the fine print of the neighborhood association’s bylaws.

Somebody had already beaten me to the brick and I’m still wondering why they didn’t take the mortar too. I don’t know what the deal was on the boards. Maybe birdhouses are also against the rules.

Anyway, every single place I stopped had at least one set of high-dollar golf clubs for sale and some had up to a dozen. You couldn’t have hauled the golf clubs for sale in that one neighborhood in an 18-wheeler. But they were not selling. Golfers do not go to yard sales on Saturday morning. They play golf.

Apparently another rule in this particular community required that residents be righthanded. I never saw a set of lefthanded clubs all day and I was actually looking for a putter. (I play left-handed and sometimes go golfing as many as four or five times a year to keep my game sharpened up.)

Along about 1:30 you could notice sellers glancing at their watches. Some were already starting to pack stuff up and close their doors. You could tell that they were afraid of being reported to the association by the sourpuss, non-participants if they didn’t close up shop on time.

Back out near the interstate we noticed that gasoline was $3.29 a gallon and I mentioned the VW notion to Loretta who had made so many purchases that the back of our SUV was crammed to the bursting point.

“How on earth would you have hauled your cement in a Beetle?” she wanted to know. “And what on earth are you going to do with that stuff anyway? I thought you were only shopping for stuff to sell on Ebay.”

“If the guy hadn’t already given away the bricks, I could build you a real pretty flower bed,” is what I told her.

Leave a Reply