Saturday, July 10, 2010


Yesterday was a beautiful day. You ever have one of those days where everything comes out just right - your makeup, your hair, even the clothes you picked out for the day? Keeping the mood going, I skipped out to my car to meet a woman -- Melissa -- who had just posted on Craigslist that she had a bunch of things to give away. Fortunately she was less than 5 minutes away from me.

This was the first thing that I saw in a garage filled almost to the rafters with things.  Couches, a hutch, clothes, knickknacks, boxes, a piano, everything a baby would need for the first six months and even a soda pop machine filled my visual field. In in an earlier time that machine would have popped out a can for 50 cents. Sigh.....  Incredulous at the sight in front of me, I asked Melissa if she was giving everything away.  I was relieved (and maybe secretly a tad disappointed) when she showed me a smaller corner of the garage that held the giveaway things.  Whew!  I was worried she was giving away that soda pop machine.  Seriously, who doesn't want one in their garage?

This pretty little set of champagne glasses was in the box of knickknacks - see how they sparkle?!!. As I started packing them away for the ride in my car, another car drove up with a man and his very pregnant wife, along with a shy little toddler.  It seems the man and his family had just returned from New Zealand after the man's employer called him home. Not too long after stepping off the plane and showing up for his first day at work back in the states, the employer informed the man that he no longer had a job.  Just like that.  Several years of hard work and dedication to the company, moving his family to wherever in the world the company needed him, returning home on a moment's notice without their worldly goods and this was his reward for loyalty.  Sad to say that in my travels of  garage sales and church rummage sales, this is not that unusual of a story.  Melissa handed over all the baby things to this family. Asked if they needed anything else, they laughed and said "everything." But this day was for the baby and they were determined to have the baby's room ready within a couple of days. In the midst of hardship and fear, they could still smile and show such graciousness.  Just beautiful. 

Also in the box of knickknacks,  these two beautiful glass pieces that had been sitting in a box in Melissa's basement, covered in dust and cobwebs. The fan is now on my  antique table and the other has found a place on my dining room table. If it sparkles or shines, it has a home with me.

Another car drove up and parked.  Out popped a man and woman who headed straight for Melissa and said they were there for the large size men's clothing.  I raised my eyebrows a bit at that moment as I was also trying to gather clothing for my son whose anti-psychotic medications had put over 50 pounds on him in a very short time--a very common side effect I have been told. Melissa thoughtfully told the couple and I that we would go through the clothing together.  

As the woman began pulling the clothes out of the bag, I asked her if they were having hard times too.  She replied that her and her two children had just arrived here with barely the clothes on their back.  Her man - fiance? boyfriend? - she didn't say- worked contract jobs in construction and he had not been able to find work in awhile.   The woman and her two kids had made the decision to leave New Orleans and join up with the man to start a new life.   This man  from her younger years.   I listened politely while  quieting  the questions that were piling up in my mind.  She abruptly ended her story after a side glance from her man and I wished them well.  Inside I hoped she was following her dream to be with the love of her life.  Silently I wished a beautiful road for them to follow as we distributed clothes between us.

Along with six black stoneware desert cups and two goblets, this was the last item I pulled out of the knickknack box.  Beautiful colors and made in Japan, I carefully wrapped it up for the bedside table in my son's room.  Loving all things Japanese, I just knew he would be happy to have it in his room. 

As I walked to my car, Melissa told me about her reasons for giving things away.  She had years of accumulation of just things, in-laws who had moved to Arizona who had dropped off many of their things, two teenagers who were outgrowing clothing and toys, a toddler and a baby who no longer needed so many things and a leg cast in a lovely shade of pink that was slowing her down.  Melissa and her husband determined they really didn't need the couple hundred dollars they would make from a garage sale and decided to give to those in need instead.  So Melissa posted an ad on craigslist and then gave out the address by email to those she thought were truly in need.  Beautiful.

As I got in my car and drove away, I thanked Melissa one last time as she headed inside to rest her leg. Driving home, I noticed the cooler temperature outside after a string of very hot days. I watched an older couple taking a walk holding hands. I saw two kids setting up a corner lemonade stand and then delighted in the tiny baby rabbit sitting next to his mother in a field filled with flowers and green by the side of the road.