By CHRISTINE TAILER
The season is almost over. It reminds me of the way I savor the last few bites of a melting ice cream cone, or slowly relish walking the rows of sweet corn, as I snap off the last few, perfectly ripe ears.
I see the sign, turn off the main road and follow the arrows until I pull into the driveway of a complete stranger who welcomes me into their treasure-filled world.
Sometimes, the treasure is as simple as talking to a lady who sits on her front porch while I leisurely peruse the items she has spread out across her lawn.
As I pick up this thing or that, we exchange easy thoughts about the weather, our gardens and a neighbor we both know and admire.
Other times, the treasure is in gathering up a handful of little things to share with our grandchildren. We enjoy taking the young’uns on fairy hunts along the creek. We search for signs of the elusive, magical creatures, under rock ledges and tree roots, things such as tiny tables that are laden with even smaller treasures. On one recent yard sale stop, I found a miniature bench and a wagon, perfectly sized for a creek-dwelling fairy.
On another recent stop, I walked along several long rows of old tools interspersed with pretty glass and wooden things. I soon had both of my hands filled with small treasures, one of which was a beautiful little glass butterfly with no price listing.
I walked over to the proprietor and just as I asked how much he wanted for the delicate little butterfly, it fell from my hand and broke into pieces. He smiled and told me not to worry. I looked up at him and told him he was special. As an even bigger smile spread across his face, he told me that I should tell this to his wife.
Perhaps I just have.
I laid my other finds out before him, a blue glass window pendant and a wooden angel. “Two dollars,” he told me, still smiling, and do you know what? I was still smiling as I lay my new treasures on the front passenger seat of my car and drove away. It occurred to me that smiles were the real treasures at that stop.
And then there was the fellow who had flown and wrecked his remote-control helicopter. He had all the spare parts as well a beautiful carrying case. When I got home, I mentioned the helicopter to Greg. It seemed to occur to us both, at the very same moment, that Greg’s remote-control boat and off- road truck, needed an aerial companion. We pulled back into the yard sale driveway together, relieved that the little
helicopter was still there.
When we left, we were both eager to get home, as we dreamt of having a solar-powered, remote-control day at the creek. I envisioned a circular track in one field, an airport in another and boats that dodged rocks in the creek. No doubt about it, dreams were our treasure at that stop.
Years ago, our now-grown children would moan from the back seat as I pulled into a yard sale. “Please do not go yard ‘sailing,’ Mom” they would beg. I ruthlessly ignored their plaintive cries, but now, with the passing of time, I am pleased to report that the “sailing” tradition carries on. The young’uns tell us with pride of their own treasured finds and that it is their own children who now complain.
So even as this year’s yard sailing season draws to a close, I take comfort in the fact that next year many, many more, ever so priceless treasures will be waiting for me, just off the beaten path and just behind the yard sale sign.
Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.