Texas Baptist news nsmlogo

March 24, 2002

Texas Baptist news he said
Estate sale
___ First, a disclaimer. This column has been pre-censored by Mother, to protect us all. And she wants you to know that you should think kindly of her. It is difficult, of course, to get rid of a lifetime of accumulation.
___ We have just returned from spring break spent in Albuquerque, where we helped Mother prepare to downsize from a three-bedroom house with a yard to a two-bedroom townhouse with not much yard.
___ It's the right thing for her to do, now that she's living alone and can't take care of a bigger house or the yard. But getting from Point A to Point B is more difficult than you might imagine.
___ First, there's 50 years of stuff to sort through, which is what we attempted to do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of spring break. Then on Friday and Saturday, we sold the fruits of our labor in the
Mother of All Garage Sales.
___ By Mother's reckoning, we sold too much stuff and too cheaply. By our reckoning, we only made a dent and came out pretty good on the receipts.
___ Fortunately, everyone was still speaking at the end of the week, despite the frequent tug-of-war over what should be kept and what should be sold.
___ What a son views as surplus, a Mother may consider a treasure. The problem, she explained, is that so many of the items have memories associated with them--memories of pleasant people and places long ago.
___ But, really, how many chip-and-dip sets does one household need?
___ This was a trip down memory lane--both for good and ill. I unearthed a windbreaker from a youth choir tour I went on around 1975. We sold knick-knacks and decorative items that were purchased during the Truman administration. We even found a couple of Mother's winter coats that are so old they're back in style.
___ The only thing I couldn't find a trace of was leisure suits. Somewhere along the way, Mother and Dad had the good sense to dump those hideous things.
___ One of my personal treasure finds was a small yellow plaque that hung above the kitchen sink when I was a child. It says: "The sun is always shining somewhere. Just because you cannot see it doesn't mean it isn't there."
___ Alison made fun of it, and it is a trite little saying. But seeing it again reminded me of the optimistic and faith-filled home in which I was raised. I boxed up that plaque and brought it home because, in a strange and simple way, it sums up the best of all I hope to remember of those formative years gone by.

___I hope my mother-in-law is still speaking to me. As we went cabinet by cabinet in the kitchen, I had to play the tough one: "Just how many Corning Ware pieces this size do you actually need?" And then there was the Tupperware. I think she had way too many friends who had way too many parties and ended up with a major overflow of Tupperware (two cabinets' worth). She conceded on the Tupperware fairly quickly. The Corning Ware was a tougher subject. (We caught her sneaking some back in after it was put out for the sale.)
___ We had a major difference of opinion on how things should be priced. I redeemed myself somewhat by going on E-bay and helping her price her Fenton milk glass for the going prices. But the country decorations and empty holiday tins were a different matter. All I can say in my defense is that they did sell. So now they are somebody else's space problem.
___ The yard s
ale itself actually was fun--exhausting, but fun. We encounteredsome of the nicest people who stopped and chatted as they bought things. And I think it was therapeutic for Mark's mom when she could sit out and "hold court" on her stool. It was tough for her, but she was a trooper.
___ Of course, we were grateful when folks talked to her while we were selling, so she couldn't protest over some of the deals being made.
___ The bad thing about helping sort through all the memorabilia and items is that now we have too much stuff in our own house. We looked like something out of the Grapes of Wrath with our station wagon stuffed on the inside and sporting a full luggage carrier on top. I have no idea what the weight limit on our car is, but we had to be pushing it.
___ Now we need to have our own yard sale to make room for all the things we brought back with us.
___ Even though we know we can't take it with us, parting with special things can be hard, because we don't want to lose the memories of special people and places God has used to bless us along the way.
___ My prayer for Charlotte is that she can keep the memories without the clutter.


2001: 1/1, 1/8, 1/22, 2/5, 2/12, 3/5, 4_19
, 4/2, 4/23, 5/14 6/11, 6/25, 7/9, 7/23, 8/13, 9/3, 9/17, 10/9, 11/26, 12/3, 12/17

2002: 1/14, 2/4, 3/11, 4/8, 5/20, 6/24, 8/5, 9/9, 11/4, 12/16

2003: 1_13

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