We got in a lot of people-watching during our yard sale on Saturday.

From our  chairs under the tree, we saw the cars, pickups, vans and a bicycles  bringing ’em to our house somewhat halfway down a Tempe street.  Most folks seemingly were  on a schedule, darting to as many carport, garage, yard, junk, rummage sales as they could in several hours — usually before it got too hot.  Or until they’d spent their $25 alloted for a morning. They had  scanned through Craig’s List or the newspaper classifieds.  Or they just headed to any residential area and started looking  for the  yard signs, guided first by those along major thoroughfares.  (How do some sign-makers ever expect drivers to read the small print produced on some of those signs?)

We could hear them coming from way down t he street because they were in a hurry and they gunned their engines after they came around corners. Then they came cam bolting to our driveway.

So many were  just  guys in big pickups. On a mission. They roared to a stop on our side of the street. They gun their engine to halt. They would get out, take a long look at things, then quickly tramp up the sidewalk and and past  rows of things lined up on the grass.  Their eyes dart around again while they get the full view of things.  If they are  interested in anything, it is typically something mechanical.  Those guys were mostly  gone in an instant, not typically buying anything.

Common, too, were the couples.  The woman shopped, the guy shuffled through a limited part of the display of stuff.  The woman moved methodically and grabbed less discriminately, often picking up  a lot of  small items that may altogether be fetched for $2.35.  Often the man went back to the vehicle and waited out his lady.

When a family piled out of their car, they spread out.  They dawdled more around the tables. In the end, they scarfed up a lot more small stuff.  Kids shouted out things they discovered across the way.

One guy was looking for old LPs and was more a conversationalist with me than a shopper.  Another old-time Tempean talked about the prominent community people we knew in common.  When he learned I had worked for the old Tempe Daily News more than 25 years ago, he asked me if I was there when  the paper’ had it most embarrassing — when the photo of a track runner was published and his shorts allowed his privates to be exposed.  No, I wasn’t around, but I saw the photo in unofficial archives and remember the stories on how staff scrambled to retried as many of the published papers as they could.  And the letter of apology to readers who saw it.

I tried to sell an antique at the garage sale: a Thor Glad-Iron — a roller iron (great for shirt) that my family had from the 1950s. No one was interested. I once tried to get the Tempe Historical Museum to take it but they didn’t want it.

I guess I will try to get it sold on Craig’s List.

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