“A yard sale? Are you kidding me?” Anna, who was at the height of her teenage popularity, couldn’t believe that we had tables lined up across our front lawn and gawdy signs posted around town. She was embarrassed to say the least.
“Yes, it is for charity.” I slid past her and put down a box of items from her room with a thud. She eyed the items and made a face before rushing inside. “I don’t understand your daughter.”
“Me either sometimes,” Mama shook her head. I was glad that she was seeing Anna’s true colors. “Hand me that piece of poster board.”
Father came out and handed me a box of books from his study. He didn’t bother saying much to me, but was glad to help out with my cause. I realized a few years earlier that I could take advantage of our rich contacts and raise money for charities around town. It was my first yard sale, but if it went well I was sure that it wouldn’t be my last. Mama had even managed to have it announced in the monthly newletter that the country club sent out.
“I’m so proud of you.” Mama put her arm around me as the first cars rolled down the drive.
“Thanks, Mama. Too bad Anna doesn’t want to help…” I wanted her to realize how selfish Anna was. Mama nodded, probably pondering the disappointment that she felt in her second born child over and over again.
Within two hours I had already sold around three hundred dollars worth, and we were just getting started good. Every time I turned around I saw Mama running in the house for more items to donate, Maria was passing around cookies, and Father taking people in the house to see large items that he would be willing to part with.
“Got any good movies to sell?” Penny pranced up to me wearing heels and a dress. She always got dolled up, even if she was just going to a Saturday morning yard sale.
“Hey Penny.” I pointed toward the crate with movies in it. “I’ll cut you a deal if you buy them all.”
“I just sold two chairs. Fifty bucks a piece.” Father reported.
“Great!” I smiled. I couldn’t wait to see the final total at the end of the day!
After lunch, a woman caught my eye. She wasn’t dressed up or made up like the socialites who were meandering around the tables for charity sake, but she was searching the tables for items that she needed. It was obvious that she was wearing hand me downs and it was obvious that she was not from my parents’ circle of friend. “Hi,” I headed over to greet her.
“Hi.” She nodded in my direction and looked back down at the table of shoes that she was sizing up.
“Most of them are size eights, but I think my Mama put in a few pairs and she wears a seven…” I knew that none of the high heel fancy shoes would be practical for this woman, but didn’t say anything.
“I’m looking for tennis shoes, but these red ones sure are nice. I wear an eight.” She ran her hand across the snakeskin stilettos. She was warming up to me a little.
“Oh! I’ve got a whole stack of tennis shoes inside that didn’t make it out, thanks for reminding me! Stay right here…” I ran into the house, straight up the stairs to my bedroom, and started digging through the shoes in my closet. I had a ton of athletic shoes, but really only wore one pair that was my favorite. I gathered boxes of unworn shoes, and headed back out. “Found them.”
She opened the boxes and her eyes grew wide. “These have never been worn?”
“No, that’s why I wanted to sell them.” I was a bit embarrassed that I had eight pairs of unworn sneakers. How selfish of me.
“I’ll give you all of these and the red pair of heels for five.” I hoped that wasn’t too much.
“Oh I just need one…” She looked at a white and pink pair of Nikes. “Maybe two. I could get a pair for my sister.”
“Take them all. You can give your sister a few and keep a few… Really. I insist.” I glanced down at her worn out canvas shoes.
“Well, I guess I could. Thank you!” She eyed the red heels again and smiled.
“I’ll help you carry them.” I took armloads of shoes to her beat up car. She had a car seat in the back and I asked her if she had a baby.
“I have four kids.”
“I’m Addy, what was your name?” I extended my hand, hoping she would come find more items that she needed.
“I’m Rachael.” she took my hand timidly and shook it.
“Let’s see if we have anything else you want to buy, Rachael.” I smiled and we headed back over to the tables. I wanted to give her everything, but I knew she wouldn’t accept any of it without paying. “We have pots and pans that have never even been opened.”
“Really… Want to look at them?” I asked, knowing that the fifty dollar price tag would never do. Suddenly I didn’t care about making money for charity, I cared about being charitable. I slid the price tag off and crumpled it up into my pocket before she could see it. “I think we are asking six dollars for these, if you’re interested."
“Oh I am! Do you have any blankets?” It was warm outside, but Rachael was practical enough to know that winter was on its way.
“We do! I saw a whole stack of them somewhere earlier!” I searched for the blankets while Rachael gathered up other items that she needed. By the end of the afternoon Rachael’s car was loaded up with items that she bought. She spent twenty nine dollars in all, and had no clue that I was making up prices as I went. Mama watched me in wonder, and Father brought out several items for her. She thanked us for our attention and headed down the drive with a smile.
“I’m proud of you.” Mama whispered as I wheeled and dealed with Aunt Elise over a pearl necklace.
“Thanks,” I smiled, turning my attention back to Elise. “Now you know these pearls are worth at least thirty.”
“Okay, I’ll do thirty…” Elise pulled out a fifty dollar bill. “For charity.”
By the end of the day I had sold eight hundred dollars for charity, Icould have easily reached my goal of one thousand had I not given Rachael three hundred dollars worth of merchandise for less than thirty, but I didn’t care. I was thankful to see the items actually go to the someone who needed them instead of being taken home to the yard sale pile in the corner of some rich person’s garage.
“Oh, I forgot to pay for my movies…” Penny had stayed behind to help us load the leftovers into the basement.
“Oh, take them!” I urged, she had been a big help.
“No, actually I counted them up and if I pay five dollars a piece, I owe you two hundred and ten dollars.” Penny whipped out her leopard print checkbook.
“Penny! You are not paying full price for those movies.” Mama shook her head.
“Let her,” Father smiled, pointing out that it would help me reach my goal.
“I insist.” Penny slid the folded check into my hand with a smile, put her shoes on top of the crate full of movies and headed off toward her fancy car.
“Thank you Penny!” I called behind her with a smile. I met my goal!