The Spirituality of North Fork Yard Sales

Posted by Censor Librorum on Jul 29, 2006 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

Actually, there isn’t any–unless you stretch and look at yard sale hopping as a pilgrimage of sorts, searching for the Holy Grail of a “find,” a genuine antique or work of art, shining in glory amidst the humble household rubbish for sale.

I found such a treasure today. And more.

We started out on Sixth Street in Greenport. For two bucks I snatched up a set of unused CDs of the old radio program, “The Shadow.” “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” They will be fun to listen to on a dark fall or winter night by the fireplace. On to the next stop–a block over on Fifth Street. Nothing much of interest but a pile of old Look magazines with Jack Kennedy. A quick cruise around and off to the next stop–Sterling Street by the Greek church.

Much to our surprise the owner knew Lori–she had worked with her at the Board of Ed. While they caught up on each other’s news I took the opportunity to admire her beautiful herb garden. She had a gorgeous bed of thyme. I would like to try to replicate it in my own garden, but such a profusion of growth comes with patience. “Good-bye,” “Good-bye”, “See you in the IGA,” then off we go to the first main event: the annual Orient sale near Latham’s farm stand.

Orient has junk, but it’s generally higher class junk then the rest of the area. I probably have my best shot of finding something good in Orient. Last year, it was three, 1970s Star Wars glasses from Burger King–ok, but nothing to brag about. This year I did much better: early master salt dish ($1); collared bullseye glass from the 1840s ($2.50); and a cookbook, 19th century lumber camp cooking. A bargain for $1. There are two more sales in Orient so we zoom off to the next one on Vincent Street.

The second spot didn’t have much of anything. There was a rubber Halloween mask of a ghostly Trojan soldier with a florescent skull that was kind of unusual, but the only place for it would have been the basement, and it would have scared me every time I went down there. I passed.

#3 Orient stop had stuff we saw at a Greenport yard sale last summer. Two gay men moved from Greenport village to Orient, and I guess what they didn’t sell last summer they were hoping to unload today. Part of the sale included a giant sectional sofa. Passing the morning away with the boys were two dyke couples. One of the more fun parts of North Fork yard sales is checking out other women checking you out. Or checking your partner out. Or both of you. What will you get as you pass by…a warm smile? See-thru stare? Mild interest? Don’t-I-know-you-look–was it a NFWFW event? cat shelter benefit? Somewhere in the City? Where did we meet before?

I finally drag myself away from the books, and after a stop at The Candyman for chocolate turtles, we head off to our final destination. It is a place in Jamesport filled with old kinds of old, interesting and bizarre stuff all over the lawn: buggies, highchairs, wheelbarrows, wine barrels and more. Dotted here and there were open-aired sheds with stained glass windows. Built small, to hold no more than two or three people, they function as personal sanctuaries. They enable a person to have their own private, sacred space in the back yard. The owner builds each one herself, using unusual and antique windows she finds, shells, glass, tile and stone. Some day, I would love to have her build us one as a place of prayer.

Wandering around, almost at the end, we found our three treasures: a tiny, weathered Madonna, an art deco stained glass window that reminded us of a lighthouse, and a cast by Sara D’Alessandro. The imposing features of the face remind me of a Florentine merchant banker or a Medici prince plotting his next move.

All these were once somebody’s treasures, that they had to let go or leave behind. Now they’re our treasures to enjoy and take good care of, until the time comes to let them go. At a yard sale.

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