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Tag Archive: neighbors

Jan 27

Garage sale fever means Spring is near

I am thinking a lot about Spring and garage sales right now, almost feverishly in fact.

One thing on my mind is that it is very possible that the junk we sell in garage sales is just like a holiday fruitcake. Seriously.

Johnny Carson is credited with saying there is only one fruitcake in the world, and we pass it from house to house. I say perhaps we do that with our garage sale refuse, too.

Case in point, one of our sons moved to his college apartment and took with him neighbor Susan’s discarded dishes amounting to almost four place settings not counting a couple of missing bowls and coffee cups. He also has her silverware, minus a few pieces. These great garage sale finds of mine had belonged to Susan’s daughter, but Katie was through with them.

I have a neighbor’s floor mats in my car. She only had three not four so I have two in the front and one in the back. Whoever sits on the side without a mat has a $1.00 rag rug underfoot.

Same neighbor has some of my garden tools and an old wheelbarrow of mine.

I have some very interesting concrete garden bricks of hers that now cover the grave of our deceased family pooch.

So far, I have only mentioned one neighbor. Believe me, there are plenty of others who deserve mentioning because we all have each other’s stuff.

Once while taking a morning walk another neighbor and I noticed a very nice set of saw horses (apparently left for the trash men) at the curb of yet another neighbor’s house.

Kathy and I quickly snatched these, but we did call the family to let them know.

I thought that was indeed honorable of us.

Anyway, over the years we have had countless garage sales in our subdivision. At first when the neighborhood was new, we made an informal pact to never have garage sales. That lasted until the first Spring, and since then, we have lost track of how many we have engineered.

A new pact of sorts was instituted just last year in an effort to slow or stop our neighborhood garage sales. Kathy promised Susan’s husband Bill that she would never have another garage sale, and therefore, Susan would not be a part of one either.

So Bill thought due to the fact that Kathy actually signed a contract with him to that effect. She told me not to tell anyone (which I would never do).

Bill is a bit tired of these neighborhood sales.

In fact, I think we all agreed under any circumstance to never have another one.

During the bitter cold month of January with its two-inch glaze of ice on the sidewalks and temperatures dropping to near zero, everything changed with regard to garage sales.

Thoughts of spring and rubbish sales could not be stifled.

The pact went right out the window.

Who could blame us?

What is Spring anyway without garage sales, and that is not a question needing an answer.

Predictably, Kathy whispered to me, “Do not tell Bill but I am actually thinking of having a garage sale. So is Susan. So is Sandy. Maybe some others, too.”

My eyes lit up, and I headed straight to the basement to begin a garage sale pile. Actually, I had one started already, but I did not admit that to my neighbors in light of the above-mentioned contract.

We have set the date, and I am so excited about cleaning out our basement and getting rid of the junk that I otherwise cannot give away.

I have developed a philosophy about garage sales: if you cannot possibly give something away because no one wants it, you can most likely sell it at your own garage sale.

If all else fails, sit it by the curb and someone like one of my neighbors or me will surely grab it.

Kay Hoflander writes about the ‘reluctant aging of Baby Boomers on a weekly basis’ for The Examiner. Her first book. “Al Fike, The Modern Minstrel Man”, is available through local bookstores, your preferred online retailer, or her website at kayhoflander.com.

May 27

Honey, I bought a bridge!

“Honey, I bought a bridge,” my husband said as he walked through the kitchen door one summer evening nearly 11 years ago.

I asked him if he meant to say he had shrunk the kids, but no, he said that, in fact, he had bought a bridge.

Now, I am thinking that surely he must have said “fridge.”

Nope. He repeated it again, “I bought a bridge.”

To which I replied, “Just out of curiosity, say if one wanted to buy a bridge, how would one go about doing that?”

“Got a great deal,” he said.

I was thinking something along the lines of this, “Exactly why do we need a bridge.”

Instead of saying anything, I waited for the sure-to-come long-winded explanation.

Long story short, and believe me it was a very long story, he said it was just too good a deal to pass up.

Seems as though his brother-in-law knew of a new bridge being put in somewhere along the Moniteau River in south central Missouri. The county gave the old bridge to the contractor and let him figure out how to dispose of it. The contractor had no need for an old steel bridge and told the folks in the area that he would sell it cheap if someone would haul it off.

“What a great deal,” my husband continued, “not only is there oak flooring still in tact on the bridge, but guess what? There is a second bridge. It is actually the better of the two and has a plaque indicating that it was built in 1898.”

Hey, what can you do? A deal like that does not come along just any old day.

Thereupon, we set out to find said bridge and figure out how to move it home.

Are you with me on this?

The best part of Mission Bring-Home-the-Bridge-We-Just-Bought was the woodland paradise scenery we found, gorgeous Ozark woods and clear streams.

Locating the bridge was the easy part. Deciding how to move it home was the conundrum.

The bonus bridge, only 25 feet long, would be simple to move. We could borrow Cousin Gene’s trailer and haul it easily along the county roads and onto the interstate and home with no insurmountable difficulty.

Don’t ask me how we loaded it.

Transporting the big bridge, 16 feet wide and 50 feet long, was a brain teaser for sure. State law prohibits traveling the interstate with such a long load except for limited daylight hours. County roads are difficult to maneuver with curves and hills to negotiate.

Looks like we would now have to find a tractor truck with a low-boy trailer and hire the job done.

The cost of the bridges was mounting, the great deal gone.

Today, after eleven years of enjoying the view (from our breakfast room) of these two steel bridges in the field north of our house, I have no real complaints.

Can’t say as much for the neighbors.

The wildlife loves the bridges though.

I have watched a fox take a nap on one of the beams, cats hunt mice in the weeds that have grown up around the bridges, deer enjoy the salt lick beside them, and wild birds roost on the girders.

I have to say I am somewhat at peace with my own Bridges of Lafayette County after all this time.

For awhile there, “The” bridges, as we have named them, drove me crazy, and I even tried to sell them on eBay once. No bids whatsoever.  I ran ads in magazines and told every contractor I knew about them.

Yesirree Bob, there’s a sucker born every minute.

And, we are it.

By the way, I have a couple of bridges that are always on the market.

So pass the word.  I can make you a great deal!