Saturday, June 15, 2013



The last time Ted and I had a garage sale was ten years ago, before we actually built a garage. (Of course, it rained). We've been threatening to have another since about 2008. This year we tricked ourselves into actually doing it by setting a date. June 1st, we decided, sometime around the beginning of May. And suddenly June was a week away which meant the week leading up to that Saturday was pure hell. There were boxes in the basement labeled "Yard Sale", the contents of which were a complete mystery until I opened them. There was an excess of coffee mugs. There was my prized beaded curtain that I bought in Yorkville in the sixties. Loved it once, but it hasn't hung anywhere in decades. There were dozens of stuffed toys, several of which were gleefully scooped up by a lady who said her dog loves to chew them. Lamps. Purses. A slightly narrower than single bed. And then there was the Man Stuff from Ted's shop, most of which I couldn't begin to identify. Between us there was an incredible amount of stuff we didn't want, didn't need, didn't like, didn't fit. I tried to get Ted to help make a decision about our amalgamated "crocheted treasures" box, but sadly it's still downstairs, waiting for next time. So are my grandmother's linens. Nostalgia is such a vicious bitch.

One box labeled "Keeper Cookbooks" really mystified me. Why on earth would I have wanted to keep cookbooks I couldn't be bothered to put on the shelves with the ones I occasionally open? But when I got into the box I understood. There was my very first cookbook from when I was about eight. (See above re nostalgia.) There were a number of South Slocan and Nelson United Church Ladies Auxiliary collections. You know the kind; printed on several different pastels and held together with coils or those big hoops. But in them are treasures to be found, most of which will stop your heart given the butter and salt content, but never mind.

I did a book cull, too, but no, not any poetry ones (just a nod to what this blog is supposed to be about!), just a lot of obscure titles none of us will ever read again. I'm not going to read The Thorn Birds again, and if I suddenly decide I must, I'll get it out of the library.

Our friend and house-sitter supreme, Leanne, who's been staying with us while recuperating from a disgruntled achilles tendon issue, was going through boxes of her own, so for about a week the place was sheer chaos while we sorted and tossed and lugged stuff out. Whoever said humans were invented to move stuff around got it right.

Finally, June 1st arrived, the weather was clement and we managed to get rid of a lot of things. As that was the main idea, just about everything was priced to sell, as in quarters, loonies, and toonies, so we didn't make much but now you can walk into the basement storage room and actually find things.

But one thing happened that made it all worth while. Verna, an older woman, as in older than I, asked if there were any cookbooks. I took her over to where there were quite a number (that "Keeper" box got thoroughly thinned out) and she chose one or two, then mentioned quite wistfully that she was always on the lookout for one by Laura Verigin and another one whose title I forget.

"What do they look like?" I asked.

"The one is green," she said, "and the other has a picture of celery on it."

"Just a minute," I said and disappeared into the basement. I found the Verigin one almost immediately. I had been intrigued by the title when I was sorting that "Keeper" box: Practical Cookbook: Selected Doukhobor and Quaker Recipes and hadn't put it in the sale, and now I knew why; it was meant to go to Verna. The look on her face when I handed it to her was worth every foot ache and back twinge, every minute of sorting, deciding, discarding and lugging. I accepted two huge hugs as payment enough.

Later that afternoon, when we'd closed up shop, on a hunch, I looked up the book on ABE. Sure enough, there were two copies for sale, one for $28 and one for $33! The recipes within include the following: Lapshevnik, Plove, Galooptsi, Borscht, Kwas Katorshnik, Pakhlyopka, Halooski, Zaterka, Syrnik, Khleb, Pashka, Aunt Ruth's Czecholsovakian Rolls, Rocky Mountain Pie, Nanaimo Bars, Kalachi, Blnitsi, Pyrahi, Sour Dough Pyrahi, Pyrahi Tarts, Varionki, Saladukka, Kwas, Haloonki, etc. 

I'm almost tempted to... No! No! But I still figure those two hugs were worth way more than they're asking on ABE.

The garage sale was immediately followed by my mom's 93rd birthday, which meant a bit of a party. Here she is with her great-grandson, who's nine and almost as tall as she is.

And here she is, blowing out her candles, surrounded by empty wine glasses.

Once the yard sale was done and the birthday over I spent three days doing intensive annual and veggie planting (okay, so it's a few tomato plants this year). 

The next weekend we were in Pemberton for a wedding; drove up Friday via Merritt and Spences Bridge, over the Duffy Lake road, the scenery incredible and different from the Beautiful BC we have here.
Train alongside the Thompson River

Steep grades

Fraser River

View from our B&B in Pemberton
The newlyweds—Ted's 2nd cousin, Linda, and Barry
Back home via the Crowsnest Highway on Sunday. Everything is so green right now!

All of which is why I haven't been blogging of late. But stay tuned. I'm collecting photos for my next post which will once again be about poetry.

Oh June. You're such a scallawag of a month!


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