What skinny osteoporosis gal would wrangle wooden file cabinets taller than herself into a pickup bed and wedge in tables between chairs, lights, clocks, glassware, and crystal boxes?
Who would creep down country roads in an overpacked GMC to rent a flea market booth in a dusty barn behind the Belle Clair Fairgrounds? Who would set up said booth and man it from 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday just to try to sell some stuff to get a few bucks to donate to the kids of East St. Louis?
Uhhhhh….That would be me. And I’m darn glad I did it. The kids of the East St. Louis Christian Activity Center (www.cacesl.org ~ @cacesl) are $700 richer today. Wow. -Who’d have thought my junk was worth so much?
You know, if I started listening to logic in my life, I’d miss the adventure. For example, you might say, “Why go to the trouble?”
Gosh – I had junk and my kids could use support – SOOOO – Why not?
Besides, I met some mighty good people in the dust of the sheep barn: like the cancer survivor who sold her artwork across the dirt aisle with her mission-minded daughter We talked God stuff and I bought her watch.
There were the trio of guys in the three booths with tools, old cameras, Christmas lights, and wooden sleds who helped me carry a file cabinet to a customer’s car. I gave them a metal farm sign and told them to resell it. They insisted on donating ten dollars. “Give it to the kids,” the burly guy said.
There was the old man who explained the significance of my war bonds poster and then handed me a ten dollar bill without buying a thing. There was the gentleman from Iran who bought a watch battery and told me I was a “good girl” to love the children so much.
There was the woman who bought a basket of gourds and told me to “keep the change.” There was the young couple who fished out money to invest in a collectible. I gave them some freebies and their faces lit up at the notion of new things to decorate their apartment.Then there was the real estate broker from St. Louis who danced a bargain dance as we loaded a wood file cabinet into her car. “I love it! I love it!,” she sang out. “Now I can decorate my new home office!”
I never expected to make much money at the Flea Market. This was a lark, really, an experiment, to see if my downsizing could actually help someone else.
I tore down my shop and began loading the pickup. I noticed an old guy, a veteran flea, sitting in the middle of a piled-high booth by a corner shed. He slowly packed music posters, records, gas cans and dust mops, pausing to sit at intervals.
I gave him two of my tables. “Ah, honey,” he said. “Let me give you five bucks.”
“Oh, no,” I said, “Don’t worry about it.”
“Yes,“ I thought as I thanked him. It IS all for the kids, even my zany notions.