Sunday, September 19, 2010

I'll give you a quarter

Several years ago as My Beloved and I sold our first home and awaited the completion of the second, all my belongings were shoved into a storage room. That gave me pause to think, at forty this was my life, nearly everything I owned, stuck in a shed no larger than a garage.

Yesterday, I had the 'privilege' of holding a garage sale. It was a community event for my subdivision so that nearly guaranteed a decent turnout assuming the weather cooperated. (It did). Beloved and I decided it was time to pull out all the stuff from the crawl spaces that hadn't seen the light of day in over ten years. I then spent nearly three hours hunched over dragging boxes and assorted stuff to the end of the space. Over the next three/four days we cleaned and sorted, priced and presented all the leftovers from our life. Several friends and family members from nearby also brought items to donate to the cause. By the end of it all, our garage was packed with all manner of trinkets, baubles and bed knobs, not to mention furniture, a wetsuit, old tools and the like.

Then came the fun part. We opened the doors and awaited the fruits of our labors to all that would attend. As we live on a corner lot I assumed we would see a fair amount of traffic, and we did. As I helped our customers and generally strolled around I would look through the items recalling how they came to be with us in the first place. Some were gifts, others mementos of vacations, still others items we worked or played with. Several held special meaning, others not so much.

Then, it started, "I'll give you a dollar!" It occurred to me I was bargaining away what had once been dear to me. I have owned two golden retrievers for nearly thirty years and letting go of a certain figurine I once displayed proudly on our mantle made me feel as I was betraying my furry children.

But as the day wore on, I realized the things are that, just things and it will never diminish the memories I have of either of them. My drafting table sold, less clutter for the basement, the scuba gear gone meant not moving it randomly from one side of the crawl to the other every time My Beloved sent me to search for something. Even the small things that are now useless for Ragin' Cage were easily disposed of. His bouncy saucer doesn't now fit his running lifestyle, but I have the memory.

It's the memories, not the stuff that makes up a life. I'm quite sure I'll gather enough crap to have another sale in ten years, heaven forbid.

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