by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
St. Peter's Garage Sale begins with boxes and bags of things arriving at the Church. Carol Wardell says it is like Christmas because you never know what you are going to find. Unused clothing, tags still attached, ancient tools whose purpose is not at all clear, beautiful glassware, and Austrian china, a complete set, carefully packed, were just a few of the items discovered in the motley collection of boxes this year.
Each is unpacked, washed, tagged, and placed on long tables in the church dining room, given over for the event. Much time and effort are expended by church volunteers, seeking to raise money for church activities. The time of volunteers is, of course, donated.
Everyone enjoys themselves. Poking through the offerings of the tables bring cries of delight and laughter as people find objects they can use and ones which evoke rememberings of other times. I found an almost complete Austrian wine server, exactly like the one my mother purchased in Switzerland in 1966. I had to have it.
A garage sale is a microcosm of life, You find things you did not expect, buy what suddenly realize, you can't do without, because of forgotten moments in your own life. More prosaically, you also find just the right present for your brother-in-law.
The money generated will do much good, some likely used to feed hungry people who turn up at the church routinely with growling stomachs, seeking a meal.
Despite the fact Ashtabula makes it easy to get food stamps more people are finding themselves in need as the economy continues its downward spiral.
At the end, volunteers breathe a sigh of relief, putting away unused tags and sending unpurchased remnants off to Goodwill or Salvation Army. Nationally, garage sales generate a lot of money. Some experts guess that more than 3 billion dollars are made through garage sales annually.
I was actually on my way over to the church the other day when I encountered Carl Feather, Bed Bounty man, who seeks out those engaging in commerce. This caused me to wonder if the Commissioners, in their eternal seeking for human enterprise from which they do not profit, will attempt to tax garage sales. Would this be added to Carl's duties? Or would the Commissioners decide to do this themselves, augmenting their own incomes?
One hopes not, as this would put a real damper on the fun.