I had planned on having a yard sale at the house during the big Atomic City race weekend in August, but after spending a couple of tedious days gathering stuff up and putting masking tape prices on everything, the entire weekend got rained out.
No yard sale and very little in the way of racing.
With much regret I begrudgingly packed everything into boxes and piled them all in our spare bedroom, disappointed in the knowledge that it would likely all be stuck there taking up space until next year.
And then early last week I pulled up NOAA on the computer and realized that Friday was going to be a very warm and sunny day, and that maybe (just maybe) I could clear some of our junk out of the house after all.
Knowing that people would not come to our small and isolated town specifically for a yard sale, I contacted someone that we know in Arco.
Yes...........I was welcome to use his yard to try and sell some of my junk.
On Thursday evening he called me again, saying that he was leaving for a camping trip in a few minutes, but I was still welcome to have my yard sale.
Dismissing my concerns at being on his property while he was gone, this big and burly and very friendly man asked me if I could feed Woody.
Smiling at the thought of this cute and furry guy (the dog, not the friend), I agreed.
No problem. I'd be happy to feed the sweet boy.
As I headed towards Arco early the next morning loaded down with boxes I watched the sun rise over the mountains of the Big Lost River Valley.
The trip was worth it already..................
As I was setting stuff up a car drove by, stopped in the middle of the road, backed up and pulled into the driveway.
It was Bev.
A woman that I had met at the Mountain Man during our very first house hunting trip in March of 2013.
Was it really only in March of 2013??
A highly intelligent woman with a ready smile, always a kind word, and a seemingly perpetually scattered life, I immediately liked her.
She was good people. I intuitively recognized that in her.
And so was the elderly man with whom she shares a strong and unyielding friendship.
Interestingly enough she was also from eastern TN, and lived not too far from the area in which LC patrolled when he was in law enforcement.
Meeting her and her friend was one of the highlights of our first visit to Arco and every single time I come to this town I seem to run into her. Every single time.
I recognized Bev as she first backed up her car, and then pulled into the drive.
She wanted to talk, but I had to set up, and so we agreed that she would come back after she had stopped at the Mountain Man for breakfast.
She would bring me coffee.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
You sweet, wonderful woman...................
LC has a Facebook friend who lives in Arco.
She had sent him a message asking if she could stop at the yard sale earlier than the appointed time, and of course he told her yes.
Still unpacking and finding space for all my junk, a truck pulled up in the yard and a woman tentatively walked towards me.
LC had told me some general information about her and for the next 30 minutes I learned to like this wonderful woman.
She had been in the marines. Was the first woman to complete jump school. Had been in Vietnam.
"I don't really like to talk about it too much".
I saw the look in her eyes that I have seen a thousand times in LC's eyes and I understood.
No. They don't like to talk about it much..............
We talked about the friend whose yard I had borrowed. We talked about LC. We talked about her back injury and her physical therapy - that she was on the way to after stopping at my yard sale.
We talked about Arco, and the weather, and she quickly drove home after I realized that I had forgotten to bring bags with me.
After visiting and shopping and then helping to load her truck with the stuff she had bought, the lady only had a $50 bill and asked me if I had change.
When I responded that I didn't this woman (who was really a stranger to me) told me to hold onto the $50 and she would bring change.
I told her to just pay me when she was done with her therapy and had time to get her money changed out.
There was instant and mutual trust and I wasn't sure why, but I liked it.............
For a little while after setting up nobody came to my yard sale.
Instantly bored I began to wander around the side of the yard, pulled as always towards the mountains.
It was still cool this early in the morning and still wearing a light jacket I dug into the zippered pocket in search of my camera.
It was a wonderful, early fall day, and as I stood by the side of the road I wondered if people in Arco ever took these kinds of views for granted.
Do Arco residents even SEE these mountains after living here for a while?
They were not huge mountains - those were further up the valley - and Arco is at the base of the both the mountains and the desert.
But I could only imagine what it was like to walk outside your front door every day of your life, and see this................
Woody had made brief appearances during my visit to his yard so far, and I decided to give him some time to get used to me.
Still wandering slowly around the yard I saw the owners' side door, and then looked down at the sign he had pinned to the door.
Shady? Not so much.
But I smiled anyway when I saw the sign...................
And more signs on the door...............
Gradually people began to wander into my yard sale, and I greeted them with as much energy as I could muster.
Vaguely tired of the whole thing already I never-the-less hoped that I would take less home than I brought.
I was again reminded that these things were a lot more fun to go to than they were to hold.
In one more quiet interlude between visitors, I again began to wander, seemingly incapable of standing still.
Views of the yard and views from the yard...................
I had already found the red balloon dog, and when I looked down and saw this guy I had to smile.
It was one of those completely unexpected and totally random things that you just do not expect to find in the yard of an ex-marine, gruff, rough and tumble single guy.
And yet there it lay, bright blue plastic face staring semi-menacingly back at me.
Whenever I find random things like this I wonder who it belonged to, who dropped it, who is missing it?.............
A sure sign of fall..................
Our friend has owned one dog ever since he was a brand new puppy.
Ever since he helped to pull the umbilical cord from around Bubba's neck, and now Bubba is an elderly, slow moving and sweet 13 years old.
Woody just showed up in the yard not long ago, refused to leave, and has lived at this place that he decided was his new home, ever since.
I don't know how old Woody is, but as I approached him a couple of times he lowered his head, turned away from me and simply wandered away, wanting no part of me.
Eventually I crouched down close to him, stretched out my hands, and he came to me.
He had to decide when it was the right time to come to me, and when he did I placed both of my hands around his head, gently stroked his head and his ears and his beautiful black and white body, kissed him on top of his furry head (as I am apt to do with dogs that I like very much), talked to him and he liked it all.
Eventually he decided that he had had enough, and the Woodster turned and walked away................
I watched him as he wandered past one table and then another table until he eventually took interest in an oil heater that I was selling.
And then I watched as he lifted one leg and peed on my oil heater.
Geeze. Thanks Woody....................
Continuing to prowl the perimeter of my yard sale junk I watched with mild bemusement as he again lifted one back leg and peed on one of the 5 gallon buckets that I was using as a table leg.
Well............he certainly knew that this was HIS yard and for a few minutes my new furry friend seemed intent on making certain that I knew it as well.
OK boy.........I got it. Stop peeing on my stuff already...............
The marine arrived back at my yard sale, bought some more stuff, handed me money, and finally headed home.
A few minutes later Bev drove back in to the yard armed with a large coffee.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
You sweet, wonderful woman.
I traded my two tool boxes for her sleeping bag, and as we drank coffee we settled in on the tailgate of my truck.
We talked. People came and went. Some bought. Some browsed. We talked some more.
Two hours later Bev pulled out of the yard, finally deciding that lunch was calling her name.
Lunch was beginning to call MY name as well, but it would have to wait until my yard sale was done and I had packed up whatever stuff I still have left over after it was all said and done..............
By early afternoon I had sold a lot of stuff but still had far too much left over.
With my increasingly grumbling stomach beginning to sound the alarm, a yard saler made the comment that he had to get going because the parade was about to start.
Parade? What parade?
It was Homecoming, and upon that realization I instantly decided that I would give it one more hour and then start to pack up.
In one more lull in the yard sale action I again found myself wandering and picture taking.
Near the garage I found all kinds of awesomeness..............
This tree was one of the THE most beautiful trees that I have seen in a very long time.
A white aspen?
I am not sure, but I took many pictures of the entire, beautiful tree before realizing that the pictures showed too much of the home where I was, and the home next door.
Mindful of the privacy of my host I chose not to put them in my blog.
I spent a lot of time looking at this tree - the bark, the knots, the limbs extending beautifully in all directions, the bright yellow leaves that were interspersed with the still-green leaves this early into a rapidly changing season.
I loved this thing..................
And a beautiful metal "sculpture"..............
By 2 o'clock you could have stuck a fork in me.
I was done.
I was overdone.
It took me far too long to repack far too much junk.
As I did, tired and hungry, I instantly decided that I would donate some things to the second hand store that had opened up recently in Arco.
Some things I would take home with me, but some things had been (without me even realizing it at the time) on a one way trip out of Atomic City.
I made my donation, and then made a brief stop at a Deli where I knew a garbage bag full of free plastic coat hangers was waiting for me.
As the lady behind the counter pointed me to where the hangers were hiding, I impulsively asked her if she sold milkshakes.
Yes we do.
How much are they?
$3.49. I had $3.50 in change jangling in one pocket of my multi-pocket shorts.
I'll take one. Chocolate.
I walked out of the Deli armed with a bag full of coat hangers in one hand and a chocolate milkshake in the other, and the lady behind the counter (from the time I walked in to the time I walked out) never stopped talking on the phone that was apparently glued to her ear.
And so it goes.
Yard sale over.......................
Maybe there aren't any such things as good friends or bad friends - maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you're hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they're always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for too, if that's what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.............Stephen King, It