Ode to My Yard Sailing Obsession

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With a homestead comes a yearning to make it complete somehow. But that’s the irony of owning a house. It’s never done. No matter how many things you fill it with, you’re always finding other stuff that you think will make your life easier.

But when you’re frugal and on a shoestring budget, compulsive shopping for new things isn’t only stupid, it’s boring. What fun is it to shop when everything you could possibly want is located under the roof of a stupid shopping mall?

Instead, I prefer the hunt of a Saturday morning yard sale.  When we lived in Eureka, it was a small enough town that I could map out the sales and walk or bike to most of them.

But here in Fort Collins, we hunt down yard sales like most people, in a motorized vehicle. Parking is a little more hassle, and I do hate wasting fuel, but we can cover more ground and bring home bigger items than we can strap on the back of our bicycles.

This of course, has its good points and its bad points, but overall, the size of our tiny home today still puts a limit on what we can comfortably fit inside these four walls.

When we hit the road in a few weeks, yard sale season will be over and garages will be closed up tight for the season. I’ll be sad that I won’t be spending my Saturday mornings on the prowl, but the fun of being on the road will more than compensate for my yard sale obsession.

Ode to the Yard Sale

Gary Soto: New and Selected Poems.

A toaster,
A plate
Of pennies,
A plastic rose
Staring up
To the sky.
It’s Saturday
And two friends,
Merchants of
The salvageable heart,
Are throwing
Things onto
The front lawn –
A couch, a beanbag,
A table to clip
Poodles on,
Drawers of
Potato mashers,
Spoons, knives
That signaled
To the moon
For help.
Rent is due
It’s somewhere
On the lawn,
Somewhere among
The shirts we’ve
Looked good in,
Taken off before
We snuggled up
To breasts
That almost made
Us gods.
It’ll be a good
Day, because
There’s much
To sell,
And the pitcher
Of water
Blue in the shade,
Clear in the
Light, with
The much-handled
Scotch the color
Of leaves
Falling at our
Shoes, will
Get us through
The afternoon
Rush of old
Ladies, young women
On their way
To becoming nurses,
Bachelors of
The twice-dipped
Tea bag. It’s an eager day:
Wind in the trees,
Laughter of
Children behind
Fences. Surely
People will arrive
With handbags
And wallets,
To open up coffee
Pots and look
In, weigh pans
In each hand,
And prop hats
On their heads
And ask, “How do
I look?” (foolish
To most,
Beautiful to us).
And so they
Come, poking
At the clothes,
Lifting salt
And pepper shakers
For their tiny music,
Thumbing through
Old magazines
For someone
They know,
As we sit with
Our drinks
And grow sad
That the ashtray
Has been sold,
A lamp, a pillow,
The fry pans
That were action
Packed when
We cooked, those things
We threw so much
Love on, day
After day,
Sure they would mean something
When it came
To this.

“Ode to the Yard Sale” from Gary Soto: New and Selected Poems. © Chronicle Books, 1995.

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