I am so grateful my town has instituted Bulk Pick-Up Day twice a year. Here’s how it works: the weekend before Bulk P/U Day the residents hold garage sales (or “estate sales” in the snootier part of town). And when I say garage sale: you see the best of all manner of crap piled in folks’ driveways. By Sunday afternoon all this crap moves down to the curb where the real action happens. The curious drive about town scavenging the curbside — I once watched a guy remove the screws from some furniture and neatly pile the decomposed pieces. But it is the artwork that captures my imagination. Some of these masterpieces surely hold a rich history of family lore. I imagine one spouse, in a grand show of sacrifice, moving that old painting of the dogs playing poker, down to the basement (next to the lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg and the neon beer sign) for the sake of marital harmony.
Which bring me to my Dad, and his keen eye for the art of the curb. He is also the guy who would take his grand-kids to local HS football fields and have them search the bleachers and the parking lots for change. This is a man with a discerning eye for anything that sparkles. In the last few years he has scored some incredible pieces — all cruising his 55+ neighborhood after a tribal elder has passed on and the next of kin has left the detritus of their loved one curbside. He has a fondness for landscapes, but there is a portrait of a venerable old sea captain that has already sparked a bidding war among the grandchildren. Thankfully there is still plenty of wall space in my parents’ home for my Dad to expand his collection of priceless works of free-cycled art. We laugh now, but who’s to judge? I just know I’ll be sad when the time comes to sort through them and remember how they came to join our tribe.