hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


May 17, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: Flip side of life full of surprises

There I was, working out on the treadmill one morning, watching "Good Morning America" when one of my favorite newscasters revealed a rather unorthodox side of herself.

She told the outside world that her favorite pastime was turning junk into treasure. I never would have thought this about the woman, until she showed herself rummaging through junk piles and yard sales, retrieving trash.

A wrecked chair suddenly gained new life in her den. A forsaken lamp was rescued from a heap and turned into an eclectic work of art. It fit perfectly with other remnants this woman salvaged.

She took pride in being an honest-to-goodness dump picker and even wrote a book on her experiences. Who would have guessed?

And with a snicker, she gushed out, "You snooze, you lose. I brake for yard sales."

Well, so do I for that matter. I can't pass one by without pulling my car to a halt by the side of the road and investigating the scene. It's like stumbling upon a scavenger hunt and finding lost treasure.

As you may know, I regularly go in and out of second-hand stores in pursuit of the Holy Grail. The other day, I stomped into the Salvation Army store and headed straight for the audio section.

People were busy picking through the record section. Others went straight for the DVDs. I found the CDs more palatable and couldn't control my passion for good music.

Upon selecting a good share, I approached the register and quickly discovered that what I had selected with the pink labels were half price. My entire lot went under $10 and that's not all.

The clerk gave me a pleasing smile and said, "God be with you."

Now, how often do you get that inside a retail establishment, whether non-profit or not? It left me with a good feeling, as well as a good shopping spree.

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