I have been guarding pennies for the last few months, but this morning I splurged and gave myself 20 dollars to take to an estate sale. Not much money, but enough for the last weekend of a sale that has been going on for three weeks.
This sale was in a retirement subdivision that surrounded an assisted living center. It was lightly attended and heavily picked over. One woman there told me the first day of the sale two weekends ago was so crowded no one could move-"That's how much stuff she had", the woman said, speaking of the late owner.
The estate sale people were surprised no one had pushed away the motorized recliner that turned into a lift. Or the motorized hover wheelchair. Nor had anyone bought the commode chair and the other sad debris that comes with failing health-
"All the Smalls are 75% off", the checkout lady told me, and for a few bucks I bought a potato peeler, two wooden spoons, a jello mold, and a tart pan. I also bought these elegant little wire utensils. I can only guess what they were used for-
I picture people sitting around a table dropping shrimp or pieces of meat into hot oil or a fondue pot and lifting them out with these small wire spiders- but who knows.
Their owner is gone now. She will not tell us.
But what she owned speaks for her. The shelves of cookbooks that covered the culinary world from James Beard to California cuisine to the foods of Vietnam. The ornate Chinese cabinet that looked as though it came from an Emperor's palace, the oriental vases and prints, the showy costume jewelry too dated to have sold, the pocketbooks and hats out of fashion.
And then there were the cookbooks-
I paid $2.50 for Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking". Fifty cents for Collier's" Woman's Companion Cookbook", published in 1944 and listed as worth $120 on Bookfinder. James Beard's "The Fireside Cookbook", published in 1949. George Lang's "The Cuisine of Hungary".
A dozen cookbooks in all, and the utensils. $17.50 for the lot.
As I left the sale,people were worrying about the weather. One woman said the schools were closing, and the estate sale people said they might be shutting down early because of the storms. No good can come of bright sun and warm winds and 76 degrees on the second day of March.
I expect the tornado sirens will be going off tonight-