‘Tis the season for yard sales. Driveways lined with tables strewn with baby clothes, toys, romance novels, and Barry Manilow cassettes.
For at a yard sale years ago I learned a very important lesson – be slow to judge.
One day my wife Kristi decides to have a yard sale. All Friday evening we lug stuff from closets and basement, painstakingly pricing countless items, eagerly anticipating the thronging crowds who will come to empty their pockets upon our doorstep.
Kristi invites her friends Mary and Gretchen to join her. The dew is still on the grass this sunny Saturday morning as the early birds show up well before the sale. I cheerfully man the fort, serving our small children breakfast and getting them dressed, occasionally popping outside to chat with customers while the kids watch The Gospel Bill Show inside.
As the morning wears on, my cheerfulness evaporates like the morning dew. The kids are in hyper-drive, and I’m tired of tending them and doing morning chores. At one point I look out the window and there are no customers, but Kristi, Mary and Gretchen are having a great time drinking coffee, talking and laughing.
“How are sales going ladies?” I ask.
“Hardly anybody’s buying anything now,” Kristi says, “but we’re having a blast.”
“Great,” I say thinly, as something crashes behind me, followed by wailing.
Throughout the morning I check to see how the sale is progressing. Few customers — but Kristi, Gretchen and Mary enjoying every minute.
“If we’re not selling anything maybe we should just call it a day and take whatever’s left to Good Will,” I suggest around 11.
“That’s okay, we’re having so much fun hanging out together we don’t mind not selling much.”
All afternoon they carry on, while inside, Smeagol morphs into Gollum while doing dishes, laundry and vacuuming. Around 4, Kristi comes in and asks, “Do you care if I run out to the mall to get something with the money I made?”
“Sure, have fun,” I croak, forcing the world’s tightest smile.
“Go,” I mutter to myself, “I’ve only been stuck here all day slaving away without a moment to myself. No — you go. Maybe I can find some old waxy linoleum to scrape or a toilet I can plunge after I bathe the kids and put them to bed.”
A couple hours later Kristi returns with a hanger covered with a plastic bag.
“Get yourself something nice?” I ask, like she’s carrying a dead raccoon.
With a look of pure joy, Kristi removes the bag revealing a beautiful leather bomber jacket. “No, I got something for you.”
I wither into a pool of misery like the Wicked Witch of the West after water’s been poured on her. I take my “Coat of Condemnation” from my loving wife, who held the whole yard sale for me. O Come, ye fellow depraved hearts and learn. Be slow to judge, and quick to believe the best of your brothers and sisters.
Photo by loveunderlined