My Sweet Tony Stewart Tote Bag

All my life I’ve been content not to pull over, get outa my car, walk into a complete stranger’s yard or garage, strike up a conversation while pawing through their belongings, pull out my wallet and fork over hard-earned cash in exchange for something that should have long since been pitched.

But it turns out, my Mom, my sis and her spouse get a huge kick out of doing exactly this and since I’m a guest for the weekend in their Nashville home, when the invitation came to join them for a morning of “yard saling,” being the dutiful son/brother/brother-in-law that I am, there was only one possible response.

“Why, certainly.”

When in Rome


Suck it Up Matson, How Bad Can it Be?

At one of our first stops, we split up and commence pawing. Reverting to latent smartass tendencies, I remark out loud, “Hey check it out! A sweet Tony Stewart tote bag!” Problem is, a remark intended only for inter-familial amusement, gets overheard by the yard sale practitioner, who doesn’t know me from sic ‘em and hence, can’t discern smartass from legit sentiment and proceeds to offer me the sweet Tony Stewart tote bag.

For free.


The whole yard sale economy is grounded in the ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ philosophy

and for some folks, clearly, that’s all fine and good, but I’ve never really fully come to grips with the desire/need to possess any other man’s trash ‘cept my own. And then only long enough for the trash man to haul it away. Landfills exist for a reason.

One man's trash...

When it comes to material goods, I may be an elitist (who am I kidding, there’s no ‘maybe’ about it.) I am an elitist whose global view of yard sales is basically a weekend-long regional re-arrangement of junk.

The underlying theory is maybe there’s something I no longer value that someone else simply cannot live without. The blender that only yesterday was whomping up chocolate milkshakes on Sherwood Drive, tomorrow will spin up carrot-rutabaga-kale smoothies a coupla blocks east on Maple Street.

The Nashville experience was my first brush with yard sales in a generation.

During my single father years in Topeka, Scott and I would occasionally cruise them in search of weekend entertainment. He’d come across what to him was a new toy or game. Scott and I had a pact. Get in. Get the loot. Get out. As quickly and efficiently as possible. We’re elitists after all.

The yard saler’d move some inventory, I’d be out a buck or two, Scott’d be thrilled and we’d have a weekend’s entertainment.

In fact, I’m fairly certain that today, buried deep within in a box in our basement back home in MHK is a King Kong Bundy action figure. Purchased for a quarter at a Highland Park neighborhood yard sale in Topeka, ca. 1992.

Back on the ground in Nashville, my Mom got a ceramic giraffe (she collects them, good to know.) Viki got a ceramic butter dish. Emily got a cat on wheels.

I tried to leave the sweet Tony Stewart tote bag in the trunk of Mom’s car, but my loved ones were on to me. So I’ll schlep it home. Maybe I can carry it on the airplane and strike up a conversation with my seatmate about NASCAR.

Or yard sales.

Prolly not.