Prologue to this post... Last week in Tidewater, Virginia, it rained. A lot. This explains my lack of enthusiasm last Saturday as we drove an hour and a half to Kilmarnock, Virginia to meet friends at an outdoor sale.
My friend Megan moved to Kilmarnock 2 years ago to accept an assistant rector position at Grace Episcopal Church in Kilmarnock. Every year, the church has what Megan has described as a yard sale. Last year, we had another commitment on the day of the event, so this year we decided to make the sale priority in order to see our friends.
The trouble was that Kilmarnock had just had 5 days of tornado warnings, thunderstorms, and downpours. Could an outdoor sale be possible after all the rain?
Yes, it turned out, yes, yes , yes!
The sale, I learned, has outgrown the church parking lot, so it is held at a YMCA camp on the banks of the Rappahannock River. Grace Church collects , prices, and sorts donated goods all year. Church members donate warehouses and storage spaces. The man hours involved are enormous. But the church does not keep the fruits of their labors. All the money from the sale is poured into charities in the community.
Goods are divided into categories, and a team works on each category. For example, the Linen Sisters work all year to sort donated bedspreads, sheet sets, tablecloths, curtains, and so forth. Damaged linens are discarded.
It took us 45 minutes to get a mile down muddy Boys' Camp Road into the sale. Finally we came in sight of a large field with camp cabins all around it and merchandise as far as the eye could see. And what merchandise it was! There is some affluence in the Kilmarnock community and it definitely showed up in the merchandise...high end appliances, designer shoes and handbags, antiques, Gullah baskets, quality sports gear. Treasure old and new.
In an hour and a half, I had accumulated a pink chenille bedspread, old embroidered hand towels and pillowcases, a large Bagellini travel bag, $200 boots, shoes, and a load of books.
Our friends took home a recliner and a dishwasher.
We took a break watching the river go by. Other than muddy shoes, we suffered no damage from the high water in the field.
When the sale was over, gleaners from local charities drove through the mud looking for leftovers that they could use or sell. I watched Boy Scouts load a golf cart onto a flatbed and shovel up old luggage with an earthmover.
And in two weeks, preparations for next year's' sale will begin.
I plan to be there, on Boys' Camp Road, rain or shine.