The grand total: $30.50.
That’s what we made from our yard sale.
And we’re satisfied with that. What we didn’t sell is headed to Goodwill.
We joined hundreds of others around Manatee on Saturday in cleaning out stuff from attics and garages, and putting it out in the driveway.
The first object to sell was an 11-by-14 magazine quality photo of John Lennon from his Beatles days in a cheap, but ornate frame.
Surely, a Beatles fan would snap that up, I thought.
But a woman said she liked the gold-colored frame.
“How much?” she asked.
One dollar, I answered.
“Fifty cents,” she countered.
What we were selling might be junk, but at least it was eclectic junk.
One of the reasons I decided it would be a good idea to help my wife with the yard sale was simple cowardice.
Could she, in my absence, put my old vinyl records out at the curb and sell them for a quarter apiece?
The next items to sell were matching salt-and-pepper shakers. Cute little yellow ceramic chicks. Perfect for Easter. They sold for the grand total of 50 cents.
Then a visitor from Michigan made a beeline for a 4-inch thick machinist’s manual, dating from 1941, that was full of mathematical formulas, tolerances and, for all I know, logarithms. He snapped that up for $1.
He seemed fascinated with a stencil set and a Leroy lettering set. He later returned to buy the stencils for $1.
I could tell he had a technical background and learned that he was a carpenter, had also worked with robotics and now restores antique furniture.
There were lulls in the visits from shoppers, so I kept myself busy “merchandising,” moving stuff around, cleaning it up, trying to showcase our inventory.
We had this little table fountain and lamp combo, which I cleaned up, plugged in and got running. Soon, a couple stopped and asked how much for the fountain.
Five bucks, I said.
They countered with $3.
A couple of guys my age from the block stopped by and we discovered that all three of us were draftees who were in Vietnam about the same time.
Later in the day, another fellow from the neighborhood and his wife stopped to chat. He is a Vietnam vet and former Cobra gunship pilot who flew out of Can Tho. Those were some of my old stomping grounds.
Several folks stopped by on their bikes. Other shoppers stopped by and wanted to buy their bikes.
One of the visitors on a bike bought a book on Native Americans. Her husband has Native American blood, she explained, and the book was for him.
Here’s what didn’t sell Saturday: an old computer terminal, six racks built to hold compact discs, clothing, a child booster seat, and a bunch of other books, including one by Louis Dearborn L’Amour. Couldn’t sell two bags of golf clubs, either.
As we were beginning to think about packing up, I mentioned to my wife that I was really surprised that a bunch of dishes had not sold.
By a quirky coincidence, a couple stopped by just then and bought enough dishes, bowls, saucers and cups to fill a China cabinet. The price: $15.
At the end of the day, I was happy that I listened to my inner voice about what Kim might do if I had left her all alone at the yard sale.
One fellow stopped by and asked if we had any CDs or vinyl we wanted to sell. No, I told him, but there might have been if I hadn’t decided to stick around and help with the yard sale.
I enjoyed myself. And the best part was being outside on a beautiful day and spending time with neighbors.
We need to do more of that.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 941-745-7021.