Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Rummage Sale

Confession time. I did something last weekend I’m not proud of. I got into an argument with a woman over four wooden hangers at a rummage sale.

Perhaps I should back up a bit. For the last six years, we’ve sent either one or both of our kids on the church mission trip. In order to help pay for this expense, our church holds an annual community rummage sale. Because our kids go and will benefit from the proceeds, the kids, my husband and I have to help out.

For the last six years, I’ve helped in one way or another. I’ve sorted clothes. I’ve baked dozens of cookies and worked the snack table. I’ve checked people out. Between y’all and me, I will admit that I Do Not Like The Rummage Sale. I don’t like how all the dusty things that have lived in people’s attics and basements-but now are in our church’s gymnasium-never fail to make me sick. I really don’t like sorting through other people’s donated items and discovering that they owned things I didn’t want to know about.

Example: Three years ago, my daughter found a uh, jock strap in the shape of a Flamingo. Her discovery of that, and the subsequent conversation we had about it was something I could have lived without. Really.

But I digress. Anyway, last weekend, I worked the snack table on Friday night and arrived back at church at 7:30 the following morning. The snack table wasn’t too busy, but the check out table was. So I volunteered to bag for a high school junior named Jen. I’ll admit it. Jen can add in her head way better than me. I had no problem letting her be in charge. She rang up sales, I bagged. Things were moving along.

Until the hanger lady came. She plopped four wooden hangers in front of Jen. She glared. And she pretty much told Jen that those hangers were not worth one dollar.

Philosophically, I get this. Of course people come to rummage sales for good deals. And, well, it never hurts to try and get a better deal. But people had been badgering poor Jen all morning. Some had even switched around price stickers. One lady swore up and down that her tricycle really had been priced at fifty cents.

By the time the hanger lady came, I had had enough. In my mind, those cedar hangers were very nice. They were certainly worth a quarter each. So as Jen was looking at hanger lady in wonder, I stepped in and said no. “They’re a dollar.”

She looked me over. “Fifty cents.”

To my right, I knew Jen was ready to give in. After all, there were lots of people behind hanger lady, and well, no one wants to pack up things that don’t sell. But perversely, I was tired of giving in. “No, they’re one dollar,” I said. Forcefully.
“Then I don’t want them.” And then she shoved those hangers at me.

Oh!! That really burned me up.

“Fine,” I said. “But just so you know, this church rummage sale is so these kids can go help people in Georgia.” Yes, I said Georgia like it was Uganda. No, it really wasn’t a fair thing to push the whole church aspect in the hanger lady’s face.

But for a split second, she looked a little worried. I started to get a little excited. I’m a huge wimp...but maybe, just maybe…she was a little afraid of me?

Maybe she was about to back down?

Uh, no. All she did was walk away, leaving me holding the hangers.

Yes, I lost the hanger sale. No, Jen was not impressed. But for a little bit, I felt triumphant.

There actually is a happy ending to my little episode. Hanger lady’s friend came back an hour later and bought those hangers. “They really were a good deal,” she explained. “Even at a quarter each.”

And the best news of all? After six years, my rummage sale days are now over. My daughter will be graduating next year, so this mission trip will be her last. Next year, some other Mom can bake cookies and argue. I plan to sleep in that day.
Of course, I have a sneaking suspicion there will be a tiny little part of me that will be sad about that.
Anyone else have a rummage sale story?

Shelley Galloway

Friday, April 02, 2010


CONGRATULATIONS Linda s! You’re the March winner. To receive your free autographed books please contact Laura Bradford, Roxann Delaney and Laura Altom through their Web sites.

To enter the contest simply leave a blog comment and your name will go into the drawing. Easy and painless. And FREE BOOKS.

So check back often and be sure to leave a comment. Good luck!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Food Issues

My husband is not on a diet. He is dealing with food issues sensibly by following a plan set up by a nutritionist. This involves weighing and measuring ridiculously small amounts of food for a full-size man.

On the plus, or maybe I should say minus, side, I’m eating less myself. While I’m not measuring and tracking units of protein vs. carbs, this program discourages fixing fancy combinations of food. They’re too hard to measure. And plain food tends to be less tempting (except for ice cream).

I have food issues in my books, too.

In real life, people socialize over food. Heroes and heroines, too, go out to dinner, cook together, celebrate holidays (such as Thanksgiving), take lunch breaks from work, etc. It’s all too easy as a writer to have them constantly fussing about with coffee cups, bites of omelet, or whatever, during their conversations.

Usually by chapter five or so, my ongoing outline gets studded with reminders to AVOID FOOD.

You’d be surprised how difficult this is. Almost as hard as avoiding food in real life.

I doubt Congress worries about this. Please don’t tell them. They might start fining authors of characters who overeat.

Or – worst case scenario – take away my ice cream.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Step by Step

When I was a little girl I had two dreams for my life--to be a writer and to be a mom. And while I'm proud of myself for accomplishing the first, I'm even more thrilled to be living the second each and every day.

From the moment each of my girls were born, I was a devoted mom--giving them as much of my time and attention as humanly possible. Each stage they hit, I fell more and more in love with them.

The baby stage was nothing short of amazing as I watched them accomplish all the special milestones--smiling, sitting, crawling, walking, talking, etc.

The toddler stage was wonderful (really) as I watched them explore and learn and become mini versions of the adults they would be.

The early school stage (with the exception of the first day and the accompanying tears--on my part) was memorable as well...with homemade Christmas presents, Mother's Day teas, helping with class parties, etc.

And now, as they're getting older (fifth grade and high school freshmen), I find myself getting teary-eyed as I watch them taking the first real steps towards the young women they will become. Young women I'm so very proud to call my daughters.

I bring this up because the past few months have brought so many changes their way, changes they've done amazing things with like:

Despite a move halfway across the country and a major change in their overall school environment, both girls are thriving. My oldest is hitting high honor roll each quarter with a full load of after school activities. My youngest just landed herself in some sort of gifted and talented program at her school and is involved in chorus and orchestra.

My oldest is pursuing her dream of becoming an actress by getting involved in everything theater/show/production related she can find--performing just this past weekend in her high school's production of Beauty and the Beast (she brought me to tears more than a few times as I watched, proudly, from my seat in the auditorium). The picture above shows her with some of her friends from the cast (she's the one on the far right).

My youngest got involved in basketball this winter and just earned a special award for Most Improved on her team. When presenting her the award, the coach mentioned everything from her ability in the sport to her "always smiling face." And the smile she had when he handed her the award? Absolutely priceless.

Step by step they're growing up. Step by step they're needing me less and less. It's a process I love and dread all at the same time. There's a very real part of me that wants nothing more than to put bricks on both of their heads to keep them from growing another inch...a part of me that wants to hug them so tightly they can't ever leave But there's also the part of me that knows there will come a day, in the not-too-distant future, when I have to let go and trust that they'll be okay.

Because they will be. I see it in their poise and their confidence, their kindness and their gentle ways.

I see these things each and every day. Even when the view is a little misty.