While I’ve always enjoyed discovering new treasures at yard sales, an early spring experience was like no other. I’d pulled up to the home with the miniature Yard Sale sign. No treasures lined the driveway, however two people perused items in a tiny portion of the garage. Nothing was ticketed with a price.
A plus-sized tall man, wearing camouflage shorts, a Pink Floyd T-shirt and old flip-flops, stood on the sidewalk. He beckoned me inside his home.
“Come! It looks like a bomb exploded—ca-boom! – there’s stuff everywhere, come on in!”
I tentatively stepped up the three stairs to the foyer. It reeked either of the stench of cat piss or of weed. I decided it was weed. No, maybe, both!
Yup, stuff was everywhere with a narrow path through it all for shoppers to meander. I could hear a bird squawking loudly. Its incessant talking piqued my interest as I own four budgies. Then, I spotted it. A parrot with its eyes shifting quickly back and forth. A stuffed animal parrot about two feet tall!
“I see you found the parrot! I can’t get the damn thing to shut up!”
I could see how it would quickly become annoying. I’d sell it, too. I checked out the Christmas décor and then noticed several items that looked like they may have come from India. I decided to purchase a small carved wooden elephant.
The man encouraged me to check out the whole house. “There’s stuff in the bedrooms but there are no lights in there.”
I was rather leery about entering dark bedrooms, followed by a large stranger.
“Mom and my aunt lived up here. I live in the basement. They both passed away recently within a week of each other.”
That would explain the chaos and rather old items. I offered my condolences.
“Are you going to move?”
“Nah, I’m staying. I think I’ll keep to the basement though.”
I next spied two palm plants. Last summer, I had two similar ones in large pots at the top of my driveway. I didn’t want to spend $20 for the plants again so hadn’t bought any yet. But, I desired them still.
“How much for the palms?”
“Oh, I dunno…five dollars each?”
“Oh, that would be fine. I’ll take both. They look really healthy.”
“That’s because of how I water them. I use water from cleaning the aquarium. You should do that!”
I wondered why he assumed I had an aquarium. It’s true, I do!
“The water is really good for my pot plants.”
So, I was right on the weed part. Then, two cats walked by us. Probably right about the cat urine, too!
“How much for this plant?”
“Oh, Cassandra! She’s not for sale. I mean, I never considered selling the palms, but you asked, but no way, not Cassandra!”
I’ve heard of talking to plants, but I never knew anyone who named their houseplants.
“Cassandra’s all I have left from the mother plant. She was over 12 feet tall. Come to the backyard, I’ll show you the chopped-up mother plant. It was out of control. I had to let it go.”
He led me out the screen patio door. Right past six pot plants!
“Oh, I see the plant you’re talking about. I’ve never seen one so huge!”
On the top of a compost pile were the remains of the mother plant.
“But, that’s not the plant I was interested in buying. I liked the one next to it. I think it’s a Yucca.”
“Oh! Okay, sure, I guess, yes, you could buy that one. I couldn’t let go of it for less than twenty dollars, because you’d have to take the pot. And, that pot is worth a lot of money.”
I had no idea how I was going to fit all three plants in my car, let alone a massive plant sans its pot! Yes, I had to buy the pot and the plant.
A Chinese couple asked him if he would accept a dollar for the spice rack that they’d been told was selling for three dollars.
He helped me carry the very heavy potted plant to my car.
I thanked him for carrying it.
“To tell you the truth, I just had to step away for a minute. Sheesh! What’s wrong with people? That spice rack came with every bottle filled with spices. One dollar! No way! I’d rather stomp on it in front of them, than sell it so cheaply. People!”
I told him my name and asked for his in return. It was Elroy . I figure we were like buddies now. We’d bonded.
I had a heck of a time trying to lift the heavy pot and plant out of my car once I reached home. I noticed a branch on it had broken.
I figured I’d get it to root and end up with yet another plant. That worked out well for me, as it did take root.
The plants have survived the whole summer long. While I’m happy with all of them, I figure the large Yucca plant is as special and unique as the owner who sold it to me.
So, out of all my vast collection of plants, it’s the only one I call by name.
I named my potted plant Elroy after my pothead friend.
And, the little teak elephant I bought? Well, it stank of weed so strongly that I couldn’t bring it in the house. It sits outside the front door and brings a smile to my face.
One day I found a walnut in its place, and the elephant knocked over. I assume I’d upset the order of the universe for the neighbourhood squirrels. And, that made me chuckle aloud, thinking the squirrels were probably ranting, “People! What’s wrong with them?”