Yard Sale Documentation Project 5-12-12

Sometimes you have to call in the Higher Powers to break a spell.

Appropriately for Mother’s Day weekend, our yard sale dry spell was broken by an early morning pilgrimage to the annual tag sale at the Church of St. Mary.

Here’s what you need to know about this sale: it’s located in one of the most well-established old money neighborhoods along the coast of southern Maine. Who knows what unwanted treasures were being cast  from the unvisited guest rooms and retired dining rooms of these stately homes!

Although delusions from last week’s outing were still bitter on the tongue, I opted to head out to the hinterlands (anything beyond the immediate city environs of Portland/South Portland) to see what had been surrendered to the cause.

The other thing you need to know about church sales in general is that, due to the expected high quality of the items, the opening moments of such a tag sale can be far from “christian” in nature: there’s lots of rushing and grabbing and possessiveness for those yummy scraps that have been left on the table. It can get ugly.

To this point, here’s a recap of a quick encounter that still creates a twist in my solar plexus:

At the sides of the room along the wall, there were folding chairs set up to display and accommodate goods. A tall man (late 60’s?) was standing between a rack of clothes and a row of these chairs, quietly observing the whole scene. As I moved along the side of the room, my eye caught a nice little signed painting that was sitting on the floor a few chairs over from where this man was standing. I picked up the painting and considered it for several moments: “Do I really like it? Where would I put it? How much do they want for it? Hmmmm. OK yes, let’s see what they’re asking for it.”

As I began to move away, the statue man said, “Not so fast.”

“Is this yours?” I asked.  He just nodded his head. “Well you need to say so,” I replied curtly and with only a fraction of the anger I was feeling. He had let me stand there and decide that I wanted the painting before he told me I couldn’t have it. (This guy must have worked in banking.)  I wanted to kick him in the shins.

Obviously I’m still working through the rudeness and control issues at work there. But onward we go, heading back into town . It’s only 8:15am and already I’ve gotten a few bargains and had a confrontation with the Devil.

Kate and I met up in South Portland and aimed toward what may be the mother lode for a yard saler, the “multi-family neighborhood sale.” Here we encountered kinder folk living in a well-kept cul-du-sac which, despite the McMansion quality of the homes there, had a gentle vibe.

The tone was much calmer here, plus by now it’s 9am and the initial feeding frenzy is over. However, you could tell these homeowners were new to the yard saling game. One dismayed women  commented that there was so much more to bring out from the basement but they didn’t have time before people began to appear in their driveway.

I imagined my daughter saying to herself, in the same way she did during one Thanksgiving dinner as my sister-in-law was explaining how she’d forgotten to make the stuffing but the box full of it was still in the cupboard: “Well go get it, lady!”

All in all, it was a good day. The dry spell has been broken and here’s the tally:

*sheepskin fleece vest
*Fisher Price booster seat for Vera
*book for Vera
*black, grey, silver scarf
*white decorative side table
*pair of 63″ cotton drapery panels for the living room’s summer look
*string of 200 holiday lights in good working order

Total cost to me: $21. 25

Thank you, Mother.



  1. Josephine Mori said,

    May 13, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    These delicious updates have become quite the weekend favorite with me. Beats the Arts & Entertainment Section of THE NEW YORK TIMES. No contest, not even close. Thanks!

  2. May 13, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    That’s the idea, I’m so glad to share the many facets of this experience with others, many thanks for tuning in.

  3. luddy83 said,

    May 13, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Perhaps you could syndicate a nationwide column…do you own entry and then edit the best ones you get from all around the U.S. All this online of course…and once you get a few million clicks, start renting out space on your blog and go get yourself a new car!

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