Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. ~ Philip Brooks
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ Anonymous
A good laugh is sunshine in the house. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray
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I was a late bloomer when it came to learning how to ride a bike. It was 1977, and I was a twelve-year-old kid who had to run alongside friends who, not only had bicycles, but had been riding them since they were knee-high to a grasshopper. And it was that year that I decided I didn’t just want a bike, but I NEEDED one.
As some of you know, from following my writings over the years, we didn’t have a lot of money when I was young. Mom worked hard, and we always had a roof over our head, and food on the table, but there never seemed to be any money left over after taking care of our ‘needs’ to put any towards our ‘wants’. But Mom was very good at hunting out bargains. Beyond hand-me-downs of clothing from older cousins, she would quite often buy us clothing at garage or yard sales.
My sister and I loved going garage sale-ing with my Mom. We didn’t look at it as making ends meet, or a necessity to fulfill wants, we viewed it as treasure hunting. Sometimes we came home with nothing but, more often than not, we came home with a new treasure. It may have been old and unwanted by someone else, but to us, it was new.
It was in the summer of 1977 that, while out on one of our treasure hunts, I saw it. It was a beat up bike with a sign that said “Make an offer”. It was rusted and both tires were flat. The seat had a hole in it where a spring protruded, ensuring an uncomfortable ride to anyone willing to sit on it. But to me… it was an opportunity. It was potential freedom.
I had five dollars in my pocket that I had saved up from my paper route. I knew I would need money to fix the bike and make itrideable, so I offered them one dollar. To my mother’s horror, they accepted. I think she thought I had just bought someone else’s junk and that it would probably just gather dust in the yard.
As we continued on our treasure hunt, I came across another bicycle. The seat was good and although it was a girl’s bike, I could see that the tires were good as the tubes held air. I, again, offered a dollar and it was accepted. By now, I’m sure my mother was beside herself.
Once home, I tore both bicycles apart. Using the good parts from both, my friends and I built my very first bike. I bought a can of spray paint to cover the rust and I was good to go. It took me a few weeks to learn how to ride it, but once I learned, it was like the world had just opened its doors to me for adventure and independence.
This weekend is the annual ‘City-Wide Garage Sale’. It’s an opportunity to take unwanted items from around our houses and put them out for sale to garage ‘treasure hunters’. In past years, this annual weekend has boasted as many as 400 garage sales and attracts treasure hunters from not just within Airdrie, but from Calgary and other surrounding communities.
If you check the classified section of this week’s Scoop, you’ll find a substantial list of folks having garage sales this weekend. Also keep in mind, that there will be many more not listed, so keep your eyes open as you drive around town. For those looking to take advantage of the increased traffic in Airdrie this weekend, don’t be afraid to team up with neighbours and join in by hosting a garage sale of your own. Treasure hunters will be looking for you. Never underestimate the economic power created by combining a newspaper, map, and a wallet full of small bills and loose change. One person’s clutter is another person’s treasure chest.
If you only have one or two items you want to get rid of, and don’t want to go to the trouble of hosting a garage sale, you can leave those items on your front lawn with a sign that says “Free to Take” as we are also promoting a ‘City-Wide Take-It-or-Leave-It’.
When this weekend ends, any unsold items still not wanted by owners, can be dropped off at the Goodwill store located on Veterans Blvd. N.E. in Airdrie, where they can be sold with proceeds going to charitable causes.
So, if you have friends living in other communities that love treasure hunting, invite them to Airdrie this weekend. And if you, yourself, have unwanted items, don’t you dare put them in the garbage, because to someone else, that’s a potential treasure.