Brains, Brownies and a Lesson From the Younger Set
I’ve never liked garage sales. Throw a pile of my old stuff outside, sit down in a lounge chair within sight of said stuff, hope random folks stop long enough to pay me a hilariously low amount of money for my stuff to become their stuff then take their money and buy more stuff for myself that will end up in another garage sale. Pointless.
So, it was with no small amount of grousing, sulking, and slamming our stuff around one last time that I agreed to participate in our neighborhood garage sale a few weeks ago.
On that most horrific of days, our modest suburban village of Creekside Commons devolves into a mosh pit of cut-rate capitalism.
The worst part are the cruisers: Steely-eyed bargain shoppers who drive by our house at around four miles an hour, scanning our sidewalk sacrifices to Lord BuyOurCrap with the same expression as the Terminator hunting for Sarah Connor before shaking their heads and speeding off in utter disgust at our inability to carry the one tchotchke that would make their trip worth it. Had anyone in a moving vehicle shot that look at me and my family on any other day, I would’ve power-washed their car with pepper spray. But since the homeowners association frowns on such behavior, the most I’ll do is mumble vague nastiness under my breath while vapidly smiling and waving at them like I was running for homecoming king.
My wife, Karla, and I had been up since 6:30 that morning positioning boxes of stuff outside with the precision of museum pieces that hours earlier had been buried so deep in storage that Indiana Jones would’ve said, “You’re on your own.”
By 8 a.m., and the event's start, the only things missing were our two daughters. I marched inside to collect them and nearly ran them over as they headed outside with a tray of brownies and a hand-written sign that broke my heart.
“Over time, our grandfather's Alzheimer's has gotten worse,” the sign read. “Alzheimer's is a brain disease that causes memory loss. We feel we need to help him and everyone else with this disease. We feel that we should do numerous things to help Alzheimer's. So, please donate money to the Alzheimer's Association if you can and thank you for your help with the money you have given us and we are grateful.”
We are brains and brownies.
Neither Karla nor I had put them up to this. And when they saw my face, they answered the question that rested in silent amazement on it.
“Daddy, we were going to sell these brownies today so we could buy things for ourselves, but decided to use that money to help people like your dad instead. Is that OK?”
Through eyes suddenly misty, I saw two young ladies 33 years my junior who had just taken me to school, who were learning that this world isn't about the stuff we buy for ourselves, but the legacy and blessing we leave behind for every generation.
Three hours later, they sold $40 worth of brownies, raised that much and more from generous Facebook friends, and used our profits from the day to benefit the Alzheimer's Association, which is a bit richer now.
So are my kids. So are their parents. And we can't wait for the next garage sale.
Andy Janning is CEO/founder of NO NET Solutions. He can be reached at 317-727-9657 or Andy@AndyJanning.com.