After several weeks of build-up, of the arrival of clothes and books, furniture, food, various and sundry off-beat possessions of neighbors far and near, the day finally arrived and St. Paul hosted the Annual Yard Sale. I believe it’s the 42nd year of this event, and I am a relative late-comer to the scene.
This year, the day dawned as beautifully as one could imagine, a fresh breeze, a deep blue sky, the deep greens of August in trees and field. As always, there was a crowd gathered at the end of the drive, and when 9:00 a.m. came, and the tape was cut, they rushed the church grounds with good cheer. After the first wild wave of devotees, the crowd thinned somewhat, but a steady flow of visitors and shoppers continued throughout the morning.
My role in this event is mostly that of amazed spectator: first that every year, the leaders of this event pull it off with grace and style. Second, that so many people continue to come and enjoy themselves. One of the long-term organizers said to me on Saturday, what always amazes him: “Every year, I wonder where all this stuff comes from!” And then by the end of Saturday, “you can’t even tell it happened.”
This year, some summer visitors came to the sale, and then came to worship yesterday morning. They spoke up during announcements at the end of the service, and said how much they enjoyed the warmth of the community here. One couple visiting from Tampa, Florida said, “it’s nice to come to a place where you can feel the love.” It was a great compliment to the congregation, and an affirmation of the nature of this place. Today, Monday, things are quiet. There’s some packed up clothes and boxes to go to The Second Glance, Cape Ann Food Pantry’s thrift store. The nisu is gone, the coffee pots washed, the organizers are either back at work, or they are home taking naps (one hopes). And the day is beautiful again, with August loveliness. I wander around the church, thinking about the fall, and Sunday School, happy for the joy in Sunday morning worship, not because we had a sweet yard sale, but because we noticed once again how much love and kindness there is to go around. And we spread some.