We did not expect them to buy anything. I guess they just looked like garage sale lookers rather than garage sale buyers. Can you tell that by looking at someone?
When my uncle died in 2004 he left behind a bit of a mess. There were so many belongings…so many memories. Most of his stuff has been sold or donated over the years. I have an old glass cabinet. There is a lovely figurine in the guest room at mom and dad’s house. But really, most of the stuff that remained when he died has a new home. Except for the massage table. My uncle was a massage therapist and he had purchased an extraordinary portable massage table. It was still in the basement, so it came out for the garage sale. Since we were focused on raising funds for the adoption, there were a few big ticket items that we just were not interested in negotiating price. If they did not sell, we would put them back away. One lady offered us $100. I said no. I should have tried to negotiate, but the soft blue doe skin table just would not bear up to a negotiation.
The boots had been sitting in the garage. Dad decided to donate a few incredible pieces of fire equipment to the fundraiser, the boots were included. Do you know how expensive boots are for firefighters? Oh my goodness! They cost nearly $400. Granted, they have to be specially made to protect in a fire. There are steel toe guards, Kevlar casing (isn’t that what they make bulletproof vest out of? fireproof as well…) and heavy soles. The boots were a size nine. What are the chances that a firefighter who wears size nine boots would show up at our fundraiser?
The garage sale lookers turned out to be garage sale buyers. They were a mother-daughter pair and they were so sweet. The adoption really touched their hearts. Then they touched ours. The daughter, probably about my age, was in a serious car accident a while ago. Her neck and back were hurt so severely that she could not stand, sit, or even lay down comfortably. Her husband worried about her because she would moan from the pain – in her sleep. The only relief she ever felt was when she went to her massage therapist’s office. Something about laying face down on a table that still allowed her to breathe freely gave her respite from the pain.
Mom and I had tears in our eyes. I think we almost just gave her the massage table. Who would not want to help?
Mother and daughter stood looking at the table for a long while. Daughter’s husband was called a few times. He was at work. He is a firefighter. He wears size nine boots. He had never had a pair of boots quite as fancy as the ones Dad had for sale.
Mom and I watched. There were a lot of other shoppers to attend to, but I do not think either of us took our eyes off of mother and daughter for long. They whispered. They talked. Then mother made a decision. She decided to buy the massage table to give relief and rest to her daughter. She decided to buy the boots to give protection to their firefighter’s feet.
They did not negotiate.
As we stood in the driveway with a few hundred dollar bills in our hands and watched mother and daughter drive away, Mom and I cried. Daddy’s career as a firefighter has ended, but he still found a way for it to help raise money for his grandbaby. My uncle would have loved the idea of me adopting my first baby. And now, as his gear went to serve in a new home, my uncle contributed to bringing my baby home.