It happens every year – at least every year that we have lived in our small town. The rescue squad tag sale – sponsored by a gated community that is situated on the sound about 8 miles from the rescue squad. This has become an annual pilgrimage for Dave and me as well as a yearly barometer of where we are in terms of finances, clutter and the relationship between lacking and irresponsible material lust on our part. When we were first married, living in our 22K house, finances were a huge struggle. Both of us had experienced major financial crises and he entered our marriage with a few thrift store belongings while I had more “stuff” but 10 years less adulthood to accumulate the everyday things like towels and pans. We stumbled upon our first tag sale accidentally. When we got there it was as if we had reached the Emerald City. You see, this gated community is primarily made up of semi-retired and retired professionals from the north. They found our area to be the dream climate and their community to be the dream community complete with golf course and marina all for about what they were paying for a smaller scale life up north – my assumption, perhaps wrong. Upon arriving, my next guess, is that they realized all of the “stuff” they brought with them was no longer necessary – and this “stuff” was high quality. What better way to purge it all collectively than to have a huge yard sale benefitting our county’s rescue squad. Dave and I had never been to anything like this before – quality appliances, dishes, furniture, you name it. I digress. Early on when every penny counted in our marriage we would save and come away with many things both necessary and unnecessary – the overall feeling of need and neediness left us feeling like we must scrounge. It is because of those times that I can understand the psychology of hoarding. Each year as our lives and finances have recovered we have spent an inversely proportioned amount here and have much more discerning thought processes. This year we had 15 dollars cash. I bought several books, a marble cheese board (doesn’t everyone have to have one?) and a gently used wreath that will match the walls in my freshly painted bedroom. Dave bought a tripod, a solar shower for our camper and a coffee maker – that is his one neurotic thing – every year brings a new coffee maker. I believe we are up to 10 or so. I cannot fault him. Coffee consumption is in his genes and the fear of being coffeeless is right up there with the fear of being jobless or carless.
We probably did not need everything we purchased – in fact, I know we didn’t. The exhilaration wasn’t there this year. There was a frenzy in times past stemming from the thought that they might possess what we need – desperately. As life has grown more content and as internal and external blessings have been bestowed upon us, the hunt is more methodical and the need to spend and accumulate has subsided. In some ways I miss the joy that finding a 1 dollar necessity would yield, but I am grateful to God that those needs have since been met and life can be more simple.
Thousands of dollars were raised today and many people who are where we were have had their needs met. I am grateful for my community and my cheeseboard. My small town still brings me great contentment to this day.