Banks County Opinions...

August 1, 2001

By Angela Gary
The Banks County News
August 1, 2001

Plenty of laughs during yard sale
Cleaning your house from top to bottom, pulling out all of the stuff (junk) that you don't want any more and the clothes you are tired of (that don't fit any more) and piling them in the corner.
Going through these piles sorting things into categories, putting colorful stickers with prices on the items and neatly folding the clothes.
Getting up before daylight on Saturday morning and dragging all of this stuff into the yard on tables that you've lined up right by the roadside. People stopping as soon as you've stuck your head out the door. You hurry faster and faster to bring stuff out as you hear from the crowd, "What else do you have to put out?"
Looking at people in amazement as they ask if you will take 10 cents for something that you clearly marked was 25 cents.
Falling in exhaustion on the couch after you've loaded up all of the stuff that didn't sell and taken it up to the Potter's House.
If you've ever had a yard sale at your home, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's no easy task to hold a yard sale. Sure, it feels good to count the money at the end of the day, but you will mutter, "It's just not worth it" many times as you prepare for the big day and then hold the yard sale.
We have at least one yard sale a year. I usually have something in mind for the extra money, like a cruise or a trip to some exotic place. This year, I had allocated the money to go toward my medical bills, which continue to come in weekly even though it's been more than two months since my surgery. I guess the yard sale is more fun (or not as bad) when you know the money will go toward a cool vacation. It's not quite as much fun when the money is going to pay your anesthesiologist, the doctor, the hospital and, it seems like, everyone from the janitor to the receptionist at the hospital.
Anyway, back to our most recent yard sale, we had a pretty good morning. The early rush was over and we were sitting back to catch our breath. From 6:30 to 8 a.m. is always the wildest time. We even had someone have a wreck in our yard once during this "rush hour."
After taking a short break, Mom and I decided to get up and straighten the messy tables before the next rush. She suddenly asked me where the money bag was. I quickly looked at the chair that it was supposed to be in and my eyes widened in horror. It was GONE and it had about $200 in it. I was sick, just sick. I wanted to go into the house and forget it. Just leave the stuff in the yard. Maybe it would mysteriously disappear overnight.
We knew no one had been in the yard since our last customer and couldn't understand where the money had gone.
I vaguely recalled seeing Dixie, our friendly dog, heading toward a grassy, wooded area near the house just before the bag disappeared. I also had recollections of her wandering off into the woods with a plastic bag and a sock in her mouth during the morning. Mom headed toward the woods, and sure enough, found the money bag. It had all of our hard-earned money in it and a few teeth marks on it.
Dixie's little escapade ended up making me laugh all day. I still smile when I think about it. We delighted in telling family, friends and others who stopped by about her dash with our money. My Dad swears that he trained Dixie to take money and hide it. I don't know about that, but she provided plenty of laughs during our yard sale day.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald.

By Rochelle Beckstine
The Banks County News
August 1, 2001

The fate of the last to be picked
My mother and father dubbed me "Grace" at an early age and made me a strong believer in self-fulfilling prophecy. Their seemingly harmless nickname for their oldest daughter ensured that I would have bad hand-eye coordination and a lousy sense of balance. My mother assured me each time she took me to the orthopedic surgeon that she and my father loved me despite my clumsiness and I did have other strengths she would emphasize to cheer me up.
Becoming Grace had other pitfalls besides the number of trips to the emergency room. When organized team sports began in middle school, I was usually the last one picked. I would offer to organize the equipment room, launder the basketball teams' uniforms, sweep the gym floor, and clean the locker rooms just to avoid the prospective teams' line-up. But, when there were no other chores to be done, I took my place beside the rest of my class and waited for dejection. (If there are any teachers reading this, don't ever let kids pick teams-assign them! It's much easier on a fragile kids' self-esteem.)
There were a limited number of sports to be played at Jackson County Middle School-football, dodgeball, basketball and softball. The sport named would determine my fate. I was passably talented in three of the four areas. In football I was good at tackling. In dodgeball I could hide in the back of the group until it appeared I knew how to play. And my height alone made me desirable in basketball. At least I was picked before the girl who picked her nose in between plays. There was a small victory to be had in that.
The school year was winding toward Christmas my sixth grade year when Coach Brown announced that "today we would play softball." I groaned. It was too soon after my last attempt at bat for anyone to forget my lack of coordination. One by one my classmates were picked until I stood alone. My name was never called. It was understood which team I should join as the class filed out into the cold November morning. My friends tried to console me as we walked past the mobile classrooms. I toted the plastic bases across the street scuffing the toes of my Wal-Mart special tennis shoes on the asphalt.
Distributing the bases along the diamonds, I prayed that the game would be over before I had to bat. When it was our turn at field, I managed to stay inconspicuous at left field. Five times we switched places with the opposing team. The list of people before me became much slimmer and I knew that my prayers were not to be answered on this godforsaken day.
Hope still remained in my heart at the second strike. I could yet surprise them all. I could get a base hit, or maybe even get to walk. Illusions of grandeur - I could be the first one picked tomorrow - filled my head as the ball whizzed past my impotent bat.
Strike three.
Taunts from the opposing team and groans from my own chased me back to the dugout. Failure again, but not yet eternal disaster - I could still write.
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.

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