When you live in the middle of Nebraska sometimes we run out of things to entertain ourselves with. It is sportsball (football) season, so most Saturdays are preoccupied with that. Also it’s not quite harvest time and the weather is still pretty decent; thus meaning we need to host a large garage sale that spans numerous miles and towns. This special weekend is called “Junk Jaunt” and last three whole days. So image numerous small towns with numerous garage sales ranging from a few tables of knick knacks to garages, yards and shop buildings full of items for sale. You can tell the ones that are out to make some money and those who don’t want to pack all that crap back up and haul it to Goodwill or the trash where it probably belongs, by their price ranges. On top of it all ,these small towns are spread out, roughly 15 miles apart and bright orange signs mark the way. How anyone could not want to just jump in their Buick and partake in this fun filled road trip is beyond me.
My friend and I have participated in this yearly adventure two times in the past 3 years. The first year we decided to go, I also decided that getting piss pants drunk the night before was also a great idea. I just want you to know from my experience that in fact it was a horrible idea. Not wanting to be one to disappoint, I got myself a big iced tea for the car ride and the way we went. It took me all of 5 minutes into the first stop, looking at some random junk that I did not need, catching a whiff of something godawful before I made my rapid exit to the car. At this exact moment the fresh air hit my face and my stomach contents hit the ground. Yaking in a stranger’s yard isn’t exactly my finest moment but my pride and dignity were long gone before this day. From this point on I was ready to look at more junk and most importantly get a hamburger in me. Not just a regular hamburger but one made in a small town diner where the walls were just as thick with grease as my arteries. We then scoured the town for some good sales and the gems that we just couldn’t live without. The best find of the day were some baking dishes and pans out of a 90 yr old ladies house. Most of her stuff looked brand new but we both knew that every dessert that was baked had a story attached to it. We then continued down the road to another small town that had treasures as far as the eye could see. This with where the second prized possession was obtained. I found myself some homemade sauerkraut and to anyone with any kind of German decent knows that is as good as gold. I was also able to pick myself up a brownie made by love and it was situated perfectly on a little Styrofoam plate, wrapped with care in saran wrap. Between our stops we entertained ourselves with dumb jokes, singing along to the radio and the endless cries of “There’s a sign!”. When we finally made it to the last town of our destination, we had looked at all the home decorations we could handle. We would even abandon a box we were digging through when it was declared that they wanted $3 for a potholder. We then decided to head home and continue to talk about our experiences of our first ever Junk Jaunt. We even made promises to do it all again the following year, which we were unable to uphold to for various reasons.
This year we were able to make our rounds again to all the small towns in the search of the never ending items that we found ourselves digging through for hours on end. This time I made sure I wasn’t hungover and I had my big pop ready to go. We got the car fueled up and the music picked out for once again journey to the sea of dusty glassware. Armed with our dollars and sporting a T-shirt with Jesus riding a dinosaur, we were ready to search for treasures to fill up the empty backseat. One pit stop was in my home town and at an old Christian Church that is now reformed into an “antique” store. The gentleman there was keeping track of all of his visitors by where they had come from. My friend who was quicker on his feet than myself, was able to confidently state Chicago as his residence. Once I heard this fly out of his mouth I very quickly proceeded to busy myself with some necklaces hanging on a nearby wall. I knew that if I even smirked the jig would be up and I was curious as how this was going to play out. At the next stop we searched for jars of sauerkraut but much to our dismay we were too late. We did find brownies but by their taste they were not made with so much love, but more vegetable oil than necessary. There was a detour to look at an old town-car, in case anyone we know is looking for one. The journey carried us back the way we came and to a few country roads but we kept searching none the less. Some people were happy to talk our ears off and tell us every detail of every item. Others sat quietly while staring at two, loud and funny looking humans as we made comments to ourselves about their sale-able items they had drug out of the basement. I could not even begin to count the amount of old cellphones (mainly Nokias) that are still considered a hot commodity. As we talked about families, people we know and made stupid jokes along the way we found the last town. Like vultures, we circled the block and then made our move. At this stop one of my prouder moments of threatening a kid who was shooting Nerf darts at my general direction had occurred. I will say that becoming a mom gave me my “Mom Voice” that I will use on any child I deem fit. Needless to say, he stopped and I was able to look at this moms weird X-Mas decor in peace. After being exhausted from the in-out of the car for the last 4 hours we needed some grub. Raising Cane’s was what our minds decided was going to be the perfect re-fueling dinner. There we were off, making our way to the heavenly chicken and large iced teas. As we sat there, covered in a fine layer of dirt and other peoples crime on our clothes our bellies were full and it was time to go home. The drive home was quicker than I imagined but that could be from staring out the window at the vast land of which we had just traveled. I made it home and with some assistance made it into my apartment with my newly purchased items where I gently placed some into the storage closet to be forgotten until I am frantically looking for something that I just know I have.