Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 6-18-12 |

Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 6-18-12

Summer has arrived. The hay is on the way to being ready to cut … or hail has knocked it down – again.

School is out. Kids are starting lawn-mowing businesses. Horses are looking sleek and shiny. Rodeos are popping up in every small town. Felt hats are set on the shelf and straw chapeaus can be seen adorning heads.

Lemonade stands bloom on residential corners. The air conditioning is turned on in the pickup (if said conditioning still works). Hens grow broody and hide nests out in the brush. Calves and colts bounce around in the pastures. The bulls shade up.

But you really know summer has arrived when yard and garage sales proliferate faster than a politician’s promises. You’re not immune to the call. Going to yard, garage, rummage and auction sales is an addiction. Sufferers can’t help themselves. There are no support groups or therapies for the condition. You’re on your own. When the fever hits, relax and enjoy. Who knows, you might actually find a treasure.

Of course, you may offer up a sale of your own. Last year you acquired a Huck Finn raft of stuff. Some of it came from yard and garage sales, some of it you bought at thrift stores, some of it was given to you and you hadn’t the backbone to say, no thank you, some you purchased at the bazaar and some you acquired at auction sales.

Q: What do you do with all the treasures you’ve acquired?

A: Hold your own yard, garage or auction sale. The income will finance your own sale-buying habit this summer.

Q: When you hold a yard sale, how do you prevent people from coming early, sometimes rousting you from your bed?

A: Close and lock doors and windows. Draw the blinds, don’t answer the phone or door till the appointed sale hour.

Q: What time should you, yourself, go to a yard sale advertised to begin at 9 a.m.

A: 7 a.m.

Q: At a rummage sale, how do you insure that you will get the very best bargains ahead of all those other greedy folks?

A: a) Join five churches that you know hold yearly rummage sales.

b) Volunteer to be a rummage collector which means you offer your pickup or car to gather items from church members’ homes.

c) Offer your basement or garage as a collection/storage center.

The flip side of yard sale fervor is auction fever. Farm/ranch auctions are the ice-cream of auctions. Held outdoors, you can find everything from a brace of shovels and rakes to an old swather to a milk separator to a volume of Albert Payson Terhune’s dog stories.

Q: How does one know when to bid at a country auction?

A: An inner voice will guide you. When your glance falls on an object that you know instantly you can’t possibly live without, you will experience an intestinal wrench of acquisitiveness similar to the feeling you get right after eating battered deep-fried zucchini. The auctioneer, always someone super sensitive to the buying fever vibes emanating from excited buyers, will exhort you to heights of bidding. Whether you nod, raise a numbered card, wave your hand or jump up and down is your choice. In the end, you will acquire that old, beat-up, second hand, outdated, antique thingumbob for your very own. It’s yours, yours, yours!

Now, all that remains is to haul it home, call all your friends and brag up a storm.

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