A Dollar Is Worth a Million Bucks

Have you ever seen the History Channel’s American Pickers?  It’s one of my guilty pleasures that I DVR as regularly as I do my other fave – American Idol.

Weekly, hosts Mike and Frank tool around in their white Mercedes van driving the back roads of this country searching . . .  “Each item we pick has a history all its own and the people we meet, well, they’re a breed all their own. ”

This weekend, my driveway would have been a welcome site for any respectable picker.  I held the Mama of all tag sales and opened not only my garage, closets and history but my heart.  Of course I had other motivation for doing so.  My boyfriend who is always so present and available for me, is moving in officially next week and the level of clutter in my home was starting to threaten both our mental well-being.  I wanted to do this for him and as usual, he wanted to be there every step of the way to help.  And you know what? It’s a good excuse to meet the neighbors.  But I was hoping for more than a general “I-feel-so-much-better-that-I-finally-did-this” kind of vibe.  I was hoping for a minor heartwarming miracle similar to what my friend experienced.

My buddy Jill participated in a school run tag sale last year.  Each family rented a section where they could hawk their wares with wild abandon.  At the day’s end a woman was overjoyed to discover Jill’s cachė of cute little boy items embroidered and painted with the same name as her best friend’s son.  But the woman’s saga had a tragic twist.  Shortly after her friend’s adoption of an African American boy the woman was told she had a rare form of cancer.  She was gone within three weeks of being diagnosed.  After hearing the story, Jill donated every last remaining element to the woman for this little boy.

A year later, Jill herself learned she had cancer.  The day she received the news was also the day of the funeral for her cousin, who had died suddenly.  Not wanting to burden her family in their time of grief, she did not share her own news.

After the funeral as relatives were mingling, she was introduced to a distant relative who  shared he had a sister who had died suddenly after adopting a little boy with the same name.  He shared the amazing story of his sister’s best friend who had met an “angel” who donated lots of cool items like jackets with his name on it and a little wooden bench that the boy, who was by then 4, adored, and used daily.

“That was me” Jill blurted with tears in her eyes.  “I was the woman who met your sister’s best friend and gave her all that stuff for your nephew.”

The families are still in touch, still connected by more than boys with the same name.   They are connected through a simple act of kindness, and a tag sale.

Holding on to the idea that a toy or piece of clothing would be so meaningful for someone else was inspirational.  It is what gave me the energy to buy copious amounts of poster board and colored sharpies, enough cooking supplies for four dozen cookies and cupcakes and gallons of lemonade, post signs up all over God’s green earth, do online ad listings, send email inviting and organizing my neighbors to join in the fun, entice my stalwart honey to pick up half a dozen rental tables, and help me move more boxes than there are stars in the heavens.

I was wanting to do more than just get rid of my excess “stuff”.  Like my friend Jill, my intention was to help people energetically as well as physically.  On a selfish level, I too wanted what my whole family did – more space to breathe.  I wanted to help my boyfriend by creating more space for his stuff coming in less than a week; help my daughter, who on her return home from the hospital requested a “cleaner, more open” space and help my son who always feels less chaotic and calmer with a more feng shui inspired room.

But I also enjoyed meeting more neighbors, tag sale pros and collectors; people from many ethnicities, neighborhoods, backgrounds and in all, standing on my feet for 11.5 hours just on day ONE of my two day sale, I can honestly say I get it.

I now understand why people do this.  My honey and I spent hours laughing, sweating, getting caught in the rain and working harder than we ever had enhancing our bond through another “regular life experience” and appreciating even more, all that we do for each other.  I got to see the joy and pride in my kids faces when they ran their first bake sale and lemonade stand.  I was able to feel a sense of accomplishment having run my first multi-family neighborhood tag sale.  Then there was the icing on the cake.

There was the young couple searching for furniture for their new home, the mother just moving into the area, searching for toys to quiet and calm her four boys (including twin 18 mos. olds), the lonely lady searching for someone to talk to, the woman who tearfully shares about her husband’s rapidly advancing Alzheimer’s, the neighbor on his bike stopping by to say hello and discuss his daughter’s upcoming Bat Mitzvah (yes, I do that too).  At the end of the day there were stories and more stories . . .

A dollar is exchanged, objects become repurposed, paid forward and serve as connectors between families, neighbors, friends, strangers and community.

Who knows where these objects will wind up?  Who knows whose life will be changed irrevocably because of them?  I can barely see straight I’m so tired and every muscle in my legs, feet and back are aching, but what a joyful ache it is.


There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL https://diva-mama.com/a-dollar-is-worth-a-million-bucks/trackback/