News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

December 27, 2011

MS. TAKES: Some look forward to spring and garage sales

TERRE HAUTE — We are officially into winter and just days after the longest day of the year. We can begin counting the days until spring and can look forward to waking up to a bit of sun.

My friend, Mary, seems to be counting the days. She is a confirmed garage sale shopper, but winter cold and gloom has very few garage salesmen willing to brave the cold. Mary’s spirits are low.

During “the season,” she is habitually late to exercise because she is lured by promising-looking garage sales between her home and the Family Sports Center. Her exercise may suffer, but her friends aren’t going to knock her interest. We have all benefitted from her finds!

These chilly days she arrives — on time — sporting an Eddie Bauer jacket. She picked this up for 50-cents at a sale where the previous owner was moving to Florida and was under the notion — mistaken — that it never gets that cold in Florida.

No one knocks Mary’s hobby. We have all received garage sale bargains she has found. We have only to express need and, sooner or later Mary appears with the requested object. There was the glass lid for Ben’s slow cooker which, somehow, got broken. Dot needed an area rug “with a bit of blue in it.” Bill’s wife likes cookbooks, and we all leap at the selection of paperback books Mary brings.

My own request was for a food warmer tray to keep food warm when serving from a buffet. I didn’t realize that warmer trays have gone the way of the dinosaur and the new thing is a table-top grill — much too warm for my needs. While I haunted retail stores, Mary arrived one Friday morning with a good warmer tray!

The problem is that Mary waves off payment on the grounds that it was garage sale cheap. Maybe, but those of us in the gang have become shy about asking for help in finding stuff. When it pitches up, there is no price tag!

I used to go to garage sales myself, but these days I need more stuff like I need an impacted wisdom tooth so I drive on by those tempting displays.

But, I will say that I’m getting good use out of that warmer tray. Thanks Mary!

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star education reporter. Her column has appeared on this page for more than 25 years. Send e-mail to

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