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Why I Love Lodi #24: Garage Sales

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Posted: Friday, November 5, 2010 2:17 pm

Is there really any better way to spend some free time than perusing garage sales?

There's nothing quite like rummaging through a person's childhood memories, a family's set-aside past in search of a great deal.

Ooh! An unmatched set of bookends! A threadbare easy chair! A velvet painting of Emmett Kelly Jr. Why store or haul unwanted junk off to the dumps when you can just as easily pawn them off on looky-loos and unsuspecting passersby? Garage sales are - forgive the terminology - spectacular crapfests.

And I love them.

I spent part of my lunch hour at a friend's garage sale. While I listened to a woman lament about the moldy condition of an ancient children's book (at .50 cents the mold comes free with the storybook), I studied the offerings.

There were the usual items up for grabs, such as knick-knack shelves, old telephones, salt and pepper shakers and, as stated, books. Then there was the out of the ordinary fare like a karaoke machine, an electronic neck massager and what looked to be an old studio-style video camera with a flip-down type-pad to add credits, I assume - either that or it was the precursor to a cell phone with video capture and text editing capabilities. A steal at only $3. I was so tempted, but then, I don't have a studio, and I don't know anyone who does.

Though I really didn't need anything (well, OK, unmatched bookends would have been cool), I don't like spending so much time at a garage sale and not picking anything up. Fortunately, I found two great books - Dorothy Allison's "Bastard Out of Carolina" and Elinor Klivans' "Potpies," a cookbook dedicated to, you guessed it, potpies.

The coming cooler weather diminishes the number of garage sales in Lodi until spring returns, but every now and again, garage sale junkies are lucky enough to encounter these junky gems.