127 Yard Sale
We don’t have time for vacations the way most people do who work for a company. You know, where you get to put in for a week or two, then plan a relaxing get away. When you work for yourself, it is hard to take time off. Family loves to argue this point with me. ‘Why not? Just do it!’ There are many reasons for not ‘just doing it’.
The biggest drawback to taking a dedicated week off is that when I get back, there’s a pile of catch up to tackle because I don’t have a secretary or helper to take care of it while I’m away. David is lucky to have an administrative assistant who keeps the day to day moving along, but even then, ER calls come in and he is the contact. Let’s not even get started on upkeep of a large piece of property; actually, I do have a comment. The grass does not cut itself nor do the weeds take a vacation from growing. It can be overwhelming and for a brief moment when I look over the yard and gardens, it is. For these and several other reasons, like all the tomatoes deciding to ripen at the same time, I hesitate to take a week long break from it all. Plus, I like working around here. In fact, like the old saying goes, when I do something I like, it doesn’t feel like work. With all of that being said, we do try to get away in August, typically the first week of the month, for the annual trip to the worlds longest yard sale, the 127 yard sale.
We take about 5 days (this includes the travel time) to go to the epicenter, Crossville, TN. Whether we drive north or south from Crossville, we are going to run into large groups of yard sale vendors with decent parking. What we have noticed, especially in the last three years, is that the individual yard sales have slacked. The booths in Clarkrange, TN, Alvin York park, even the Jamestown intersection have 50 or more vendors not just those who make a living at it, but families and individuals. This way everyone gets better traffic by their wares, and they don’t have to worry about their yards being damaged by vehicles. Having these large clusters makes people watching a breeze. Boy, do you see it all!
This year the woman with the spider monkey on her shoulder took us by surprise. I don’t know why we gasped when we saw her since in past years we’ve seen snakes even parrots on would-be pirates! Two spectacles in Clarkrange weren’t there this year, the shirtless young fellow in leather pants playing a recorder, nor ‘Rock Man’. We nicknamed him Rock Man because he does just that, sells rocks. People stand in line to buy his rocks, engraved or plain.
You can buy just about anything from fine silver, quilts, antique vehicles, to the basic flea market goods like yard ornaments, bedding sets, even colorful padded bras. That really is the fun of it, you never know what you will see. It seems that every year some item seems to show up repeatedly. Two years ago, chamber pots were everywhere. This year, fishing gear seemed to be at every booth. Old lures, hooks, poles, tackle boxes, and metal minnow pails abounded. At first, I brainstormed a cute outdoorsy vignette by the main entrance, or on the landing by the bookshelves. I couldn’t sell myself completely, so I passed. I decided to stick with the core collectibles that make me happy: Vintage cookbooks, quilts/quilt tops, silver, and cast iron. David looked for guns, anvils, and new tools.
I hit upon everything I like to collect. Because we missed last year, I almost made that bank-busting mistake that first timers make when we started out on Thursday, the 7th. Every kid with a good sales pitch (5 bottles of Skin So Soft), old ladies with a poignant story (appliqued quilt), and farmers (honey, peaches, corn, bread, and poundcake) got a little bit of my cash. When I reached in my wallet to count my cash at a table of chocolate molds, my $300 had dwindled to $21 and some change. Whoa, passed on the chocolate molds which really killed me since they were so unusual. My free spending earlier in the day had caught up with me. I was much wiser with my money the next two days. In fact, I didn’t spend anything on Saturday. That is really okay too. There is so much to see that walking and looking, a kind of open air window shopping, is equally as satisfying as laying down some cash for a must have. By Saturday, I ended up with several pieces of cast iron including some Griswold for my collection, a beautiful assortment of silver (David bought those items for me as a gift), a quilt, one quilt top, bunches of pickles, and several well kept old cookbooks. David, on the other hand, walked away from an over and under rifle that he regretted not buying, a couple of unique anvils got away too; however, he made a beautiful although unexpected purchase, a black walnut picnic table and seating from Cadiz, KY. That is how it often goes, you never know what will catch your eye.
By the end of Saturday, we were all yard saled out. We took off Sunday morning in the rental RV, stopped at an outlet mall, and drove back home in time for dinner. Over dinner, we talked about the fun of the last four days and planned to do it all again next year. I guess that is really what it is about. Whether you take a bona fide vacation to the beach or a road trip to go yard sale-ing, spending time together doing something that is enjoyable, brings you closer and provides that break from the daily routine.