Wanna buy a duck?

It’s that time of year for the second most popular past time in Kenai: Garage Sale-ing (Fishing of course being the first). When the granddaughters were small, I was an avid garage saler. They were good places to find books and puzzles and other toys du jour to keep at Grandma’s house and even once in a while a sweat shirt or pair of rubber boots to use in case of emergency. They are the true life meaning of “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” ( or woman’s as the case may be)

One of the grand-daughters loved to go to the sales and came to our house on Saturdays so we could make the rounds. We finally had to ration her to one item per sale, and later when she was a little older we gave her an ‘allowance’ that she could spend on anything she wanted at the sales, but when it was gone she was finished. Of course she was adept at talking Grandpa into ‘just one more thing, please.’ But I guess that is what little girls are made of. Some of the items she took home and some she left with us to have for future visits. We still have a pink ruffley parasol and an aqua colored boa in the closet in ‘Granddaughter’s Room’, not to mention loads of books and several Disney movies on VCR. Each time I suggest we sort through the stuff and maybe get rid of some she gives it a good try, and we might discard a book or a movie, but so far, ten years later, we still have a Scooby-Do bobble head and a big stack of Little Golden Books in the same closet with the parasol and boa..

I watch Antique Road Show and see people who have found something at a garage sale: a vase, or a lamp or maybe a painting that they paid two dollars for and find out it is worth a small fortune but that has never happened to me, The closest I ever came was once a young lady brought a box of dishes to a friend’s sale and told her to sell them for fifty cents apiece or whatever she could get. I looked in the box and it was all ruby Depression Glass. The only reason I knew that was because Hubby’s grandmother had just given me a set of 4 ruby-glass wine glasses and had regaled me with the history, value (which isn’t much but IS considerably more than the fifty cents she wanted) and assorted other bits of information about it. I asked the young lady where she had gotten the pieces and she said they had been in her mother’s cupboard forever and she’d gotten them from HER grandmother. I suggested that she take them home and look up the value before she sold them for fifty cents apiece because there would be lots of garage sales where she could get rid of them if she decided she wanted to after that. She took the box away, but I don’t know what she did. She may have returned after I l left and sold them for fifty cents apiece.

In the days when I regularly did the Garage Sale circuit on the weekends it was fun to see people you didn’t see except on the summer garage sale route, or to find yourself in a convoy of cars making the rounds between Kenai neighborhoods and eventually Soldotna. We’d tease about getting all the good deals, or ask if they’d seen such and so item anyplace. Or if someone asked the proprietor about something, offer the information where you may have seen it that morning.

Garage sales are the barometer of what’s no longer ‘in’. One year it will be all the out of favor video games, or maybe a toy that was sold out at Christmas. They are a good place to find the latest ‘as seen on T.V.’ gadget, and to find out if it really works. Hubby used to prowl the sales for fishing lures and equipment for the summer guests, because he said as many as they lost, it was no use getting anymore new stuff. And we found lots of clam digging boots and assorted mud gear in the days when we took everyone clamming.

These days I only go to the sales if I am looking for something specific: Two feet of hose, or an old cookie sheet to use in the grill. Of course when I’m looking I often find a deal too good to pass up. One recent sale had nearly everything for ten cents. I couldn’t pass up a big handful of envelopes, a stretchy belt, and a Dana Stabenow mystery. It took great discipline to ignore all the other good deals on those two tables.

I’ve never hosted a sale myself. I’ve thought about it a few times, but it’s just easier to ask around if anyone wants a pink parasol or an aqua boa.


Virginia Walters lives in Kenai. Reach her at vewalters@gci.net.

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