Sow’s Ear: Iris goes to the yard sale |

Sow’s Ear: Iris goes to the yard sale

by Gwen Petersen

Big Timber, Mont.

“I need a break,” said Iris, “I’ve been on night duty checking heifers for a month now.”

“So what are you going to do,” I asked in all innocence. “Fly to Tahiti? Bask in Hawaii? Get a massage from a handsome hunk at an expensive spa?”

“Nope, I’m going to a yard sale in town,” Iris declared.

“Yard sale? In March? It’s snowing and the temperature’s in the single digits. Who would put their stuff outside in this mess? Are you sure?”

“Absolutely. Mr. and Mrs. Bifurcation are moving. They decided to have a yard sale. My last heifer check is at 7 a.m. That’ll give me time to get to town by 8 a.m. The advertisement said no early sales, but I want to be there at least by 7:45 so I can be ready. You know how pushy some of those women are, especially Mrs. Super Rancher.”

If there was such a thing as Yard Sale Olympics, Iris would take the gold every time.

“Okay,” I said. Happy hunting.”

“You have to come, too,” replied Iris.

“Me? I have a bum knee, remember? I’m barely back to walking and you want me to tromp around at a yard sale?”

“Have a cup of coffee,” said Iris. “You’ll be all right. Bring your cane.”

No need to go into agonizing description here. Suffice to say that at 7:50 a.m., leaning on my cane, I found myself eyeballing an array of stuff ” furniture, dishes, knickknacks, books; all the paraphernalia that households accumulate like fungus on cheese. Already a crowd of buyers had gathered, lingering and looking as they awaited the official start of sales.

As Iris piled out of the pickup, she squealed, “Oh, look!”


“A Redwing butter churn!”

A 2-foot-tall crockery vessel stood at the end of a line-up of goodies displayed right on the ground.

“You planning to make butter?” I asked. “You don’t even have a milk cow.”

Iris swooped toward what she viewed as the find of her entire yard-sale life. So did Mrs. Super Rancher. Iris sidled closer to the churn. So did Mrs. Super Rancher.

“I was here first,” growled Mrs. S. R.

“No early sales,” said Iris, “you have to wait for 8 o’clock.”

With a Cheshire smile, Iris planted a foot on either side of the butter churn. The time was 7:57.

Mrs. Super Rancher hissed. She zipped and darted around Iris like an angry bee. Iris, like the sturdy oak (or in this case the sturdy Norwegian) remained planted. At the stroke of 8, she bent down, retrieved the crockery butter churn from betwixt her spraddled feet and toted it to the pay desk.

Cradling the treasure to her bosom, Iris strode amongst the other shoppers toward her pickup. The crowd made way. Three women and one man applauded.

Her Majesty, the Yard-Sale Queen, gave them all a gracious smile.


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