Ah look! A canoe! This excellent watercraft was recently featured at a yard sale held in my yard. As you might imagine, it attracted a lot of attention. A great old friend of mine once told me that a successful yard sale needs to have a large attractive object prominently displayed. Even if that object isn't for sale, it will get people to stop, and they may buy something else. (He was right!)
Well, this canoe was actually for sale. And it fact, it sold for an excellent price. One of the first guys who tried to talk the price down eventually returned only to find it had sold before he had second thoughts and come back. (Ah, the sweetness of that moment for the seller). The seller was not me, but another neighbor--now known in these parts for his gardening. You may remember that I have written about him before.
So ironic that he was selling--of all things--a canoe. Because it took me back to an infamous story about him and a canoe. Right back to the olden days on 199__?
So, here we are--well, I am behind the camera in this one. This was not my sale, but our good friends' long ago when we were all first married and they were expecting their first baby.
Anyway--here these guys are having a yard sale. I remember "Kay" and I laughed and laughed at the horrible things people would buy. Like a tan shag toilet seat cover and matching U-shaped mat--not even clean. Ugh!
Not long after this, I moved away. Eventually, Kay and her husband moved on too, but not before this wacky incident with the canoe.
Kay's husband owned a canoe (not featured in this sale), and the gardening neighbor--who hadn't settled into gardening yet--wandered over, in the way that he did then, and sometimes does now, though less so, and asked them if they would be interested in selling him the canoe. They were not.
Now, this young neighbor made some people around here uneasy. He must have been about sixteen or seventeen at the time. The elderly lady next door called him, "a big strapping fellow" which he was and is. Often he walked up and down the street in a sort of medicated, or unmedicated, daze. He mostly went barefoot--even in winter (in fact I saw him barefoot mowing a lawn even today). He sometimes went around in a batman cape. He sometimes wore a false mustache. He was skilled with nunchuks, throwing stars, and had a punching bag strung from a tree in his back yard, which he beat at all hours. He sometimes dress as a ninja. He shot steel arrows from a bow (which sometimes turned up in our yard). A few times he sat on his roof with binoculars. He sometimes crept around in black clothing and appeared to be a peeping Tom, though he may have been doing some kind of reconnaissance mission only he could understand. At times he wore fatigues and ran in combat boots and carried an ax. If a crime were committed, people looked toward him. Police knew him.
So, he inquired about the canoe. And then, not long after, the canoe came up missing.
Kay's husband then did a wild and brave thing--he went over to the young neighbor's house (think eerie little unkempt place like Boo Radley's house in To Kill a Mockingbird) when he was sure he and his mother were not home. He snuck into the back yard looking for the canoe. Not only that, but he persisted in his search so that he looked under the house in the crawl space. There indeed, was the canoe! It was partly buried. Hidden!
Well, he didn't take it back right away; he was afraid to. Like I said, people were a little uneasy about this young neighbor. Kay and her husband had two small children then and didn't want any trouble. So, Kay's husband waited until the night before they moved away from town, and then--bold man that he was--he snuck back up under that house and stole his canoe back!
Haha--so it was pretty ironic to me that this same young neighbor (older now of course) brought a canoe to our sale. Of course, he has evened out now. Better medicine these days probably. He said he is going to move away himself--off to work the land he will inherit. And that made me sad. Our neighborhood is getting to be so bland. Orderly, with big ordinary new houses. Inevitably, if he goes, someone will tear his little shack down, raze his garden space and backyard jungle and put up a mega-mansion of two. And who will embark on such extraordinary ideas then?