Sale had humble origins

Published 11:59 pm Friday, April 3, 2009

It was a long time ago, that rummage sale. But it came to mind almost as if it were last week when someone announced that a member of my Sunday school class had spent an afternoon sorting and pricing items for the First United Methodist Church yard sale that is under way today.

The first rummage sale staged by members of the Lillian United Methodist Church back in the early 1980s was quite an undertaking. A scant three weeks of planning had gone into the project to raise money for the church building fund. At that stage, the 78-member congregation had no church building. We met in a Catholic chapel.

Though small, the congregation was a willing, determined group with a goal clearly in mind — ne day within the next few years, a beautiful building would rise as a place for United Methodists and others who so desired, to worship and glorify God in the Lillian community.

On Tuesday before the Saturday event, the committee chairperson found two bags of items in the storage area. The next morning it was a far different story. As she and others arrived to start pricing items, there was so much merchandise it was hard for them to move around. The following morning, they found more items and worked several hours pricing them.

Even on Saturday morning with the sale in full swing, people kept walking up with boxes of various items and clothing. The committee jumped into action again, marking the new items and placing them on display.

The women had also set up a table to sell baked goods. An elderly member of the congregation arrived with a pound cake still hot from her oven. One of the workers took it out of her hands as she got out of the car, by-passed the bake goods table and walked through the crowd milling around at all the tables. The pleasing aroma floated through the air and before the worker had made a circle, she had made a sale.

One couple set up their motor home on the site and put out some chairs, providing a place for workers to take a break. The wife even served hot cheese sandwiches from the kitchen of her RV. It was a pleasant place to relax for a few minutes and get away from the blustery wind.

One worker said she looked up about mid-morning and saw a satisfied customer walking away with a rack she had brought to hang clothes on for the sale.

By three-thirty that afternoon, we decided to pack up the leftovers and return them to the storage center. There was enough for a good start for the next sale. The following October, we did it again, the beginning of a tradition.

I think everyone was exhausted but happy after that first sale. We had sold a lot of items, made some money, met lots of people, had fun working together, and spent a day most of us haven’t forgotten.