Sunday, September 28, 2008


Fog grayed the early sky on Saturday morning. Not scary, impenetrable fog that makes you imagine something is about to jump out from the side of the road. This was a veil that turned the trees into layered mysteries. One of the nice things about driving a convertible is your increased awareness of trees, both the sight and the sound. Did you know that different types of trees make different swishing sounds as you drive under them? As I started off, the harp and voice music on one of the last week’s fifty-cent CDs was perfect for the fog—you can play a sample here.

The still-gray morning seemed appropriate when a guy announced at one of my first stops that Paul Newman had died. Everyone started naming their favorite of his films. One man mentioned Sweet Bird of Youth; my own vote goes to Nobody’s Fool, which we've watched many times. It was Jessica Tandy’s last film, and the two of them together are wonderful.

The mood lightened as I left. One of the sellers hollered, “Hey, you can't leave without buying anything!” and I called back, “I sure can, just watch me!” I heard him laughing as I put the car in gear.

Another sale appeared to be a group’s fundraiser. One of the men put on a pair of white feathered angel wings, to much merriment.

His buddy said loudly, “There is something SO wrong about that!” But the real amusement came a little later, when he tried to take the wings off—and couldn’t. By now no one was paying attention to him, and he struggled to get the too-short elastic straps over his shoulders. Just as I offered to help, he managed to slip the first strap off. He looked quite relieved. Imagine having to wear white feathered wings to work on Monday. Though I suppose if he’s the church going type, he’d have been quite a hit on Sunday.

The same sale had the usual large pile of clothing for sale. A man was trying to get a lower price on a dress, and the seller kept telling him it was five dollars. He offered two, and she said no, it's five. He offered three, and she said no, it's five. Finally in an exasperated voice she said, “Here, this is the lady who donated this dress. Elaine, how much do you want to sell this for?”

Elaine said, “Five dollars.” That seemed to settle it.

Later I stopped at a sale run by two women. I asked the price of one or two items, then one of them said she might have seen me at another sale. I agreed this was likely. She said, “In fact I think you sold me a mouse.” This was over a year ago, but I remembered. We started laughing, and her friend gave us a questioning look. “There was this little wooden mouse that I saw at the first sale we stopped at, and I liked it, but I put it back,” the woman (her name turned out to be Nancy) said. “I was there at the same time,” I added, “and since she didn’t buy it, I did.” Nancy continued, “The whole morning I kept saying I should have bought that mouse, I should have bought that mouse. Then at the end of the morning, we got into conversation at another sale and started looking at what each other had bought, and there was my mouse!” So I sold it to her out of my trunk, and Nancy’s mouse now lives in her foyer, where she is happy to see it every time she comes home.

“This reminds me of my King Kong story,” I told them. It was about a month after the selling of the little wooden mouse that I found a framed movie poster of the original King Kong.
It was big—five or six feet tall, and I didn’t need it but I liked it. The price was something like five bucks, I offered three, they said yes, and King Kong went into the back seat of the convertible to enjoy riding around with me the rest of the morning. During which I started suffering buyer’s remorse. Why did I buy that? Where will I put it? Yes, it's cool, but I don’t need it—you know the drill. Late in the morning I pulled up in front of another sale, and a car stopped behind mine. Turned out the lady driving it had been following me. Where, she asked, had I gotten the King Kong poster? She was disappointed when I said from another yard sale. “My little grandson absolutely loves King Kong,” she said, “and for his fifth birthday we’re having a King Kong festival for him. The whole family is coming over and we’re going to watch movies, and I thought a poster like that would be perfect.” I could sell you this one, I told her. She didn’t blink when I said ten dollars. (These puppies are about $65 unframed, so it was still a steal.) We had to struggle a little to get KK into the back of her car (convertibles are so much easier!) but she was so happy as she drove home to get ready for their movie marathon.

Nancy and her friend seemed to enjoy this story, and we spent some time chatting. She’s as into garaging as I am and both our houses are full of our finds. I said my wardrobe comes from driveways too, and right away we were comparing my fifty cent Liz Claiborne crop pants with her dollar Abercrombie & Fitch jacket. I'm sure our paths will cross again. Sisters in thrift!

Remember the kumquats from last week? We went over on Friday to pick more. Since the tree’s owners, Beverly and Richard, are planning a major pruning soon, Richard lopped of some of the limbs. My husband went up the ladder to pick from the tree while the rest of us, along with a couple of neighbor children, picked the fruit from the downed limbs. I don’t have scales to weigh our loot, but here’s a picture of the bounty.

It took a while to get them cleaned and seeded, but should be worth it. You can rarely buy this kind of jam, and along with Meyer lemon marmalade it's about my husband’s favorite.

My Pooh nightlight is complete, though not without some effort. First, I couldn’t get the light fixture out of the ugly Christmas lamp I bought last week, and had to take a hammer to it. That worked just fine, actually. Took the fixture to work, fitted it into the Pooh piece, turned it on. It flickered once and the light bulb burned out. Went by the 99 Cent Store after work, bought replacement bulbs. Next day, Pooh and Piglet had light to read by!

BTW, I'll be on the other side of the sale table next weekend, so posting may be later than usual. I'm flying to Oklahoma on Wednesday to help my sister with an estate sale. Dad died about a year ago, Mom has moved to assisted living, and forty years worth of stuff has to go. So if you’re in the OKC area, check the listings in Craigslist for a sale in Bethany and come on over and buy, buy, buy!

My own buy, buy, buying amounted to $4 this week:

This little box will hold the butterfly pin I got last week for my mother.

When I said this shark puppet could go live in a library, the seller gave him to me. So he’ll be a door prize at the next meeting. I don’t think any kids are going to find his toothy grin too scary.

I bought these sweet little candle lanterns from Nancy-the-mouse-lady’s friend. We’ll hang them somewhere in the yard with these wrought iron hooks from another sale.

Best find of the day (the one I think my sister, Midcentury Marilyn, will be so jealous of!): gorgeous fifties china. Part of the fun is getting home and learning about what you’ve bought. This is Winfield pottery, a company that produced from 1929 to 1962, in their Desert Dawn pattern.

I have a gravy boat (is that not a fabulous shape?) and its underplate (who knew that gravy boats had underplates…), a divided veggie dish, a dinner plate, sugar bowl with lid, covered casserole, two sizes of serving platters, and a large casserole whose lid is broken. The seller had actually thrown this pair away, but asked if I wanted them. I figured why not, so she fetched it from the trash can. Heck, I can always plant something in it or have a really fancy water bowl for the dogs, right? I think the gravy boat might need to display some vintage buttons. Price for the set? Two bucks! Nancy’s friend offered me $10 when they were looking at my loot, but I had to look it up first. These are not hot sellers on eBay (what the heck is these days…) but the covered casserole and veggie dish sold for about $10 each recently. So I'll add the dinner plate to our current collection, display the rest for now, and feel quite elegant whenever I reflect that I own a gravy boat and underplate.

After I got home Saturday I glanced through the newspaper, ending up with my horoscope for the day: “You're not only meeting people and shooting the breeze for the fun of it, you're also looking for something, and you find it.” I'd say they got it exactly right. Wonder how the stars and planets knew that?


  1. Now that is an uncannily accurate horoscope reading for the day!!!

    Just love the whimsical charm of your garaging tales. I too immediately thought of Paul goodness both stunning beautiful and incredibly talented.

    I adore your fifties china and shall look it up. Do you perchance have a flickr account with your finds? I ask as I do an artisans and inspiration group and a lot of your photos would fall into that group's category of inspiration, as do you!

  2. I love your Saturday morning stories!

    I wish I was closer to OKC, but I'm closer to Tulsa. I would come say "HI!" Have fun!

  3. That King Kong story is really great. As always, you found some real goodies.


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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