Lawnmower vs. Rummage Sale

Every year we have a rummage sale (a.k.a. “yard sale” or “garage sale”), and every year, when it’s all done, I vow I will never have another one.  They are just too much work.  But come summertime, my teenager gets the bug for cleaning out the junque, and I comply again. 

Once we have everything set up and ready to go, I usually decide rummage sales are not so bad after all.  I settle into my lawn chair, open my eyes wide, and wait for something bizarre to happen.  If I stay carefully observant and wait long enough, something will happen, guaranteed.

There was the year the lady next door decided she did not appreciate our yard sale.  I don’t think she liked the cars parked in front of her house.  (We had heard about this before: “Do not park in front of my house.  I want MY friends to be able to park there.”  Well, it wasn’t my friends or myself parked in front of her house this time; it was the rummage customers.)  Anyway, she decided to display her displeasure with our rummage sale, using her lawn mower as a prop.

Our tables were parked flush with the edge of our driveway.  Never mind that we own six feet of grass on the other side of it.  She expressed her distress at not being able to mow her lawn with the rummage sale going on next to the grass.  My husband assured her she need not worry about it; he would mow the strip of grass next to the driveway when we were done with the sale.  However, she did not want to wait.  Besides, she had already planned that the lawn mower would be her vehicle of exhibiting her displeasure with us.

She proceeded to mow. When she got close to the strip along the driveway, I noticed that her grim facial  expression was crescendoing into one thunderhead of a scowl, and her mowing action was becoming decidedly more emphatic.  Violent would be a better word.  I was dealing with several customers right at that moment, but I remember seeing her throwing that mower in and out under a table and thinking she was getting mighty close to the table legs and what if — too late.  She took out the table legs.  Everything slid to the ground.  Fortunately “everything” was clothes and books, not breakables.

Her face bore a fearful, stricken look.  She had not intended to destroy, only to communicate disgust. She desperately hung on to one end of the table, trying to stop the avalanche, but to no avail.  I ambled over, helped her wrestle the rest of the mangled mess to the ground, cleared my throat, and said in a relatively even tone, “Maybe this was not a good idea.  Perhaps we had better let Paul finish the mowing later!”  Truly, I know she felt bad.  The table was a total loss, legs snapped right off the bottom.

I tried hard not to be annoyed.  It was a monumental challenge.  I succeeded in being calm with her (after a fashion), but I did not continue smiling pleasantly throughout the incident.  (So, tell me you would have done any better!)  But I consoled myself with having a story to tell among all my acquaintances for weeks to come.  I love stories!  They tend to make up for most of the unpleasant events that birthed them in the first place.


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