by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
The bags and boxes started accumulating on the stage in the upper church dining room several months ago. People remembered It Was Coming.
Saint Peter has a rummage sale every year and the event attracts people who delight in poking though the books, household items, clothing, and enormous variety of items which begin to fill up the tables, crowding out the After Church Coffee people, who sigh and take the opportunity for an early preview of what is available.
This year the number of beautiful dolls, some of them collector's items were thick upon the ground, or the tables. But also in evidence as the tables filled up to the groaning point are ancient tools, new electronics, new shoes, still in the box, Christmas decorations, craft supplies, appliances, furniture, and toys, toys, toys.
But the Stuff to be sold is only part of the story for the Saint Peter Rummage Sale. Much of the fascination is people, the ones who sort, clean, arrange, hauling tables and shaking their heads over items no one knows how to categorize.
Carol Wardell has been 'doing' the Rummage Sale since the last Captain of Commerce, Neddy, turned the ship over to her years ago. Carol says it is like Christmas. Sort of. Opening the boxes and finding ever more smaller and smaller items is always brings the unexpected, something which is true of life in general, she says.
Captain Carol is joined by swabbies and crew who change depending on the needs of their families but the jolly discussions of 'what it is worth,' continue throughout it all.
Sometimes an early browser will gasp at the sight of something which brings back memories, painful or joyous. You see the object grasped, sometimes with reverence, turned and examined as the times past flow through the expression on the face. From such moments come discussions which touch the heart and take us all back to a multitude of 'thens.'
Other objects, for instance items which can serve projects Saint Peter People are undertaking, for instance shelving for the Food Pantry, about to start, and useful additions to the church kitchen are washed and shelved immediately.
Debbie Nelson and her crew have made the Pantry their ministry.
Rummage is the cast-offs of many; Items no longer useful to someone which become precious acquisitions for others. And always, the Rummage Sale brings people together, August 15 & 16th.