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Shopping and junking in the coulee


Last updated 6/19/2013 at 9:55am

Detective Frankie D. here - again - after a couple of weeks off.

You can bet your booties that yard sale shoppers in the Coulee are in for a heck of a ride this summer if the half-dozen sales held in Electric, Grand and Elmer Cities are a true indicator.

Saturday’s rummage sale at the Grand Coulee’s Zion Lutheran Church had all of the elements of a Priority One sale: a great location in a grassy, shady area with stuff set out on tables and on tarps and lots of volunteers to help with pricing, sacking and even loading.

The deals were great too. Shoppers bought their choices by-the-box load or individually with stuff priced to sell which, to a yard sale shopper, frequently means you can and will buy more items because the prices are shopper-friendly.

And that sale was for a good cause, to assist with a United Nations global initiative to end malaria by 2015 with the proceeds from the local rummage sale used to buy mosquito nets which were noted to be “a cheap but effective method of preventing the spread of malaria.”

After a pleasant, short morning drive up the Bridgeport Highway with the sun shining on wildflowers blooming in the fields along the road, travelers saw balloons marking the turn off to the two-day, outdoor sale held by Tina and Crystal. What a variety of good stuff for sale at good prices … like gently-used toys where a whole herd of dinosaurs, looking fierce in their brightly colored skins, waiting in a box for somebody to take them home. And what a variety of VHS movies, priced at a quarter each, to choose from. Did you know that old records, 8-track tapes and VHS tapes have made a “come back” and people are looking around at yard and vintage sales for the titles that interest them?

Here’s a tidbit about junk. A buyer bought a bent-up, rusty, 4-quart bucket (with the bail intact) for a few dollars at a vintage sale this weekend. Yes, the buzz words are rusty and junky. The guy, a visitor to the Coulee, was happy to find that bucket so he could use it in a cascading water feature that he is building for his yard. Three cheers for rusty and junky!

It was over 80 degrees in the Coulee on Saturday afternoon and perhaps the temperature had something to do with this sighting. Besides the great vintage car show held at North Dam Park where visitors showed their sweet rides, some visitors went through our local towns on motorcycles, and one lone rider made a quick stop at a stand selling fresh cherries on Grand Coulee’s main street.

A slight breeze welled up when he stopped after this larger-than-life “man” got off the bike. He turned and took a look around the street slowly through huge, wraparound sunglasses, checking out every tree, building, person and car out there. This viewing went on for a couple of minutes but only after he took off his helmet and after he put his huge, gloved left hand up to his glasses to adjust them. What was he looking for? Maybe a person? Maybe someone from another time element.

Anyway, when his hand went down and his focus turned to the stand and the cherries set out in baskets, time stood still. We noticed that his steps were slow, that his presence cast a big shadow. He had a blond, spiky hair cut that apparently hadn’t been flattened down under his helmet. We wondered later, after he left, what kind of hairspray he used.

Well, when he reached out to a basket with his left, gloved hand, it stopped in mid-air and clenched into a fist. We held our breath. The biker said, “Give me a cold cherry. Give it to me now.” So, this guy got a sample cherry. He chewed it up. He ate the seed and stem too. His sunglasses were making tweaking noises and a laser-like tiny light flashed for a second, right on both of us.

Then he said, in a low, robotic voice, that he was on his way to Nevada. As he turned to leave, his parting words were, “Hasta la vista, babies.”

Back on his bike, after he terminated this cherry-pit stop, he raised his gloved left hand in a clenched fist. We both raised our left hands, clenched, instead of saying bye-bye.


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