It is now, thankfully, hard to imagine that less than a month ago we were undergoing last-of-winter snowfalls. I guess that with the birth of spring- as well as the birth of anything else- one tends to release the hardships of the past in favor of the beauty at hand. Spring, when it comes, comes fast and wonderfully furious: a procession of greens and brite colors and scents. The air sings and the trees harbor multitudes of birds. Cardinals, orioles, chickadees, jays, robins, hummingbirds. The past few days have seen temperatures in the 80’s and some of us have finally broken out pairs of shorts, only to expose ghost-white winter legs.
While clearing out last year’s dried stems and leaves arount the house, something made me stop before raking up a small mound next to the chimney in what will be soon an abundant border garden. I saw little tufts of fur, which I wasn’t sure if it was feathers or what? So I peered in for a closer look. The little mount started bouncing up and down. I was sure I wasn’t seeing things. It hadn’t been overly hot, nor had I been in the sun too long. I decided to call in the expert who came to check it out. After reassuring him I hadn’t touched it with my hands, he pointed out the camouflauged entrance to the mound and said the we were now the proud foster parents of tiny hare-y critters. The following day we saw this little guy a couple of feet from the nest.
Vermont has a custom which I once found particularly odd. Usually on Saturdays and sometimes on Sundays from spring through fall, a favorite past time is to drive around town stopping at all the ‘tag sales’ that are advertised in the local paper. Not that that in itself is odd, but the distinction that these events are not called yard sales or garage sales or rummage sales– is. They are definitely TAG SALES. We decided to join in the fun and went tag-sale hoppin’ recently in hopes of picking up something for Auntie Gee’s birthday. We pulled up to an old house in the north of town. It had only a couple of card tables with stuff on them, a box or two of who-knows-what underneath the tables, and a cheap old chest of drawers. I got out while M & B-Dawg stayed in the car. I spied an unusual triangular shaped heavy green glass ashtray that I thought we could give her as a kind of joke (Auntie Gee collects colored glass). The old farmer who’s sale it was came over to me with a respirator strapped to his back. “Yup- got a lot of good use out of that ashtray back when I smoked. Can’t smoke no more“. I asked him how much he wanted for it. He took a quarter. In the meanwhile, a young mother came by carrying an infant and was having a hard time trying to keep track of her four or five year old daughter. She approached the two of us to ask a question. Before answering, the old man told her: “Looks like that baby hasn’t missed a meal. Cute- but pudgy”. Don’t think Mom ever got the answer to her question. There were a couple of small colored glass vases that will probably be future presents for someone which were also a quarter apiece. This has to be the true spirit of the tag sale connoisseur. Someone’s trash is another’s treasure. We have bought handmade afghans for 50 cents, winter boots for $3, an old oak table with four chairs for $25–
More than anything , Saturday morning tag sale tradition is a chance to get out and meet the local color. The old farmer is just an example. Sure we’ll meet him again down the road a piece. Auntie Gee loved her green glass ashtray. It is now in her home with so many other treasures that may one day be offered in a tag sale of her own.