When I was around eight years old, a group of neighborhood kids and I were wandering around the streets – because that was the norm back then – and we came across a garage sale at a house across the creek.
It was not often that I was allowed to venture across the creek, so this was already an especially exciting day for me.
But then, this garage sale made it even more exciting… and something in the garage sale just set me on fire(!)…
It was… a gigantic stop sign…
A true and genuine, very large stop sign…
And I wanted it so badly..
We all looked around a bit, one person, I believe, buying something on the spot, due to his or her having a dollar in her pocket, but the rest of us had no money on us – that just wasn’t the thing to carry around then…
And so, we all calculated the amount of money we would need to gather from our respective moneys, and headed back across the creek together, dispersing to the various houses.
Now, I didn’t actually live on this street, due to a somewhat complicated scenario, so I didn’t have any money waiting in a house for me per se…, but my brothers and their dad lived there, and I was spending time at their house, as was usual for me, and they had money at home.
I raced to the house, and I went to my oldest brother as fast as I could… I asked him if I could have some money… I think it was ten or fifteen dollars (not a lot, but not nothing either for the time)… he asked me why, and I quickly explained everything to him, practically begging for the money at this point…
He said we would have to go check it out, and so grabbed about twenty dollars, and we were about to head out, when it was suddenly time for me to leave – my mother was there to pick me up.
My brother said he might still go check it out, but my mom said she and I could drive over to see it, because she likes things like garage sales, anyway, just to look at things.
When she and I arrived, everyone was already back, my brother among them this time, and some of the kids were already heading back home, new treasures in hand.
I showed my mom the other small something I had wanted, as well as the stop sign… she was not convinced on the stop sign…
I was sad, but not surprised – I had known my true chance of getting it lay in my brother’s letting me get it… kind of the whole, ‘Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission,’ idea, where my mom would have accepted a done deal, but wouldn’t make the deal herself.
And so, I believe we went home, my having a small treasure in hand, and grateful for it, but sad the opportunity that likely was never to present itself again had passed, un-seized…
The next time I was at my brothers’ dad’s house, upon entering my oldest brother’s room, I was struck: there against the wall, behind his speaker system, was a huge and red stop sign… very much like the one I had recently told him about…
Seriously?! I wondered and asked… he openly admitted that he knew I had wanted it, but that that was because it was cool…, and so he got it for himself…, because it really was cool.
So unfair, brother… so unfair.
It was actually rather comical for me, as opposed to heartbreaking…, and my brother, I think, knew it would be.
For me, it was just something really cool that suddenly was available to me – it was not something that I had always wanted…, so I would be okay not having it… and I was.
Plus, as he mentioned, I still got to see it all the time, but I didn’t have to figure out how to rearrange my room to put it on the wall somewhere that looked right – for his rather bare walls, it was an easy task.
So, it was totally a cheater move…, but we both were very okay with it and found it quite funny in its irony.
I still do, decades+ later..