by Rick Jones, Husband of the Minister's Wife
It's that time of year again ; Lois is away at Camp Waka Waka. She goes with friends to a women's retreat in Michigan. This event has become almost like a holiday for us – that is, it involves nearly as many traditions as Christmas does.
Every year we look for ways to raise a little extra cash for Lois's trip to camp. This year [not for the first time] it involved a two family yard sale. That means an annual tradition of sorting through our stuff and deciding what to get rid of. We go through our too-extensive collection of videos. I'll stand at the shelves and read titles that I'm willing to sell, and she'll “yea or nay” them. We've agreed that if one of us says it's a keeper, it stays. After the better part of an hour, we relinquished just four movies. Other yard sale traditions include:
My back being sore for days from hauling boxes to the sale, to the tables, back to the car when it's all done, and to the local Salvation Army donation site;
Late nights pricing items – Lois reminding me that something is “like brand new”, me reminding her that yard sale buyers will only pay yard sale prices;
Lois preparing some really good meals [the other family hosts the sale at their home's location] – this year, homemade barbecued pork, and egg salad; All other meals being based on frozen dinners because we're both so tired from hauling stuff, and sunburned;
Me being in charge of setting up the books, comic books, videos, and music, because most of that stuff used to be mine, then cringing when someone actually buys one of my departing treasures;
Me telling a pre-teen kid to take care of his new comics, some of which are three times as old as he is;
Lois and I agreeing that after all the muscle aches, sunburn, and lack of sleep, this will absolutely be the last yard sale we'll be involved in . . . then putting half of what's left into storage, in case we decide to do “just one more sale” next year.
Is it worth the effort? We do spend two days with a family we like being with, and usually get enough money to cover the cost of camp. The rest of the funds? The change gets put into rolls and deposited in the bank; some cash goes to the collection on the following Sunday at church; and I look like Mister Moneybags because my wallet is bulging with that huge stack of one dollar bills. Two days after the sale was over, I filled the car's gas tank and gave the cashier one $5 bill and twenty-three $1 bills. She was not amused.
Another food-based tradition connected to camp involves beef liver. That's a meat that often elicits very definite opinions. It's not your basic “I can take it or leave it” food. I actually enjoy it. Lois hates it. It's so abhorrent to her that the smell of liver cooking nauseates her. So the week she'll be leaving for camp, I buy my traditional package of beef liver. The night before she leaves, I let it thaw. The day she leaves [in the early morning], I cook and eat the liver for either lunch or supper. This is followed by the “opening of many windows” tradition, to be sure the house is thoroughly aired out before Lois returns.
I also plan on preparing supper that night. She always says she's been re-energized, refreshed, and had a wonderful time. Then she collapses on the couch, physically exhausted, and “lets” me haul in her suitcase.
It's an annual tradition.
Oh, and the camp isn't really named “Camp Waka Waka”. Then why call it that? Tune in next week and I'll tell you.