Rita Howell (junkaway)

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 4, 2007

My neighbor Laura is full of energy and good ideas. Take this weekend: she is organizing a community yard sale up and down Pittman Road. Rather than load up our stuff and haul it to town to sell in someone else’s yard, Laura’s idea is to entice buyers to come to our remote area to partake of our outstanding rummageables.

There’s an annual yard sale that takes place along several hundred miles of Highway 127 in Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. We’re just borrowing the idea.

Besides, if we took our stuff to town, we’d have to pay a $5 fee to city hall for the privilege. On Pittman Road, our “junkaway” event is being operated free of charge to the proprietors.

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I’ll admit I haven’t been very active in preparing for or promoting this. I’m relying on effective advertising in The Panolian, The ADvantage, The Southern Reporter and The North Mississippi Herald to draw the crowds.

Laura has been collecting and organizing her stuff for weeks. They’re selling water skis, a gas stove, clothes and lots of other things.

I’m pulling out a very large oval-shaped blue braided rug. In addition, there are some items I’m considering smuggling out of the house before Rupert realizes it. He has often accused me of rummaging his family heirlooms soon after we were married.

I thought it was just junk.

Rupert has a collection of wooden shoe stretchers that he inherited from his dad. I suppose they work very well, but how many shoes does a person need to have stretched? Right now they are piled in the bottom of his closet, not stretching anything but my patience.

A worn out pair of his deck shoes is collecting dust on the laundry room floor. I know he hasn’t worn them in two years. Once a few months ago I scooped them up and dumped them in the trash. Then I thought about what I would say when he asked where they were, maybe two years from now. So I retrieved them and placed them back in their spot beside the washing machine.

His plastic elf ears might find themselves in the yard sale, along with his collection of those plastic sunshades you get from the optometrist after your pupils have been dilated. He never throws those away.

I might try to sell his comfortable but holey overalls and a few worn-out baseball caps.

Don’t tell him, but I might try to get rid of all the old toothbrushes he always saves.

Now, he’d better not touch my collection of empty boxes. You never know when you’re going to need an empty box.

My sewing machine has been collecting dust for years, but it’s not for sale. I might start making my own clothes. Any day now.

The cat’s chewed-up cloth mouse is off-limits. She still chews on it.

My battery operated fingernail polish dryer will stay in my cabinet. Even though I rarely polish my fingernails.

Why is it I don’t seem to have any trouble identifying his junk, but my stuff is much harder to part with?

To partake of the Pittman Road Junkaway Friday (3-7) and Saturday (7-6), drive out Eureka, turn left on Crouch, and left again on Pittman.

Remember, one man’s treasure is junk to his wife.