Michael and the Garage Sale Capitals of the World 

The neighborhoods Michael has lived in are overlooked and seem colorless but actually are quite colorful.  Each house tells a story as do the people.  There is a corner house in the back streets of a local mall that had every lawn ornament and outdoor decoration that you can imagine.  Flat wooden figures that match seasonal holidays wave hello and pinwheels twirl endlessly.  And these neighborhoods are the garage sale capitals of the world.  All you have to do in the summer through late October is follow the cheesy hand made signs that sellers post all over town.  This is a bonanza for a garbage picker and eclectic collector like Michael.  His apartment is tastefully decorated in what could be called junk yard chic or nostalg-o-rama.  A lot of what he purchases doesn’t make sense to me but somehow fits in perfectly with the decor.  One time Michael bought a chocolate fountain that would be great for a wedding or large party.  I asked Michael if he really was going to eat that much chocolate syrup and he said he couldn’t resist the flowing item because it was a bargain at $8.00.  It does kind of sparkle in his kitchen.  And an open air mall hosts a for market each year in its parking lot which Michael and I attend as a fun tradition.  One of his acquisitions is what I call the tea light tree.  At first I didn’t know what to make of the red and black giant candle holder, but now I kind of like it.

  

Sister Samantha, Kelsey and the Motorbike 

Sister Sam brought the drenched dog into the convent which became Kelsey’s home.  Kelsey didn’t bark much and always seemed kind of melancholy, but loved to go with Sister wherever the nun went.  When Sister Sam said the word ‘car’, Kelsey eagerly ran to the door and waited until they left.  But when she said the word ‘motorbike’, the small dog ran and hid because he didn’t like riding with her on the two-wheeled vehicle.  But as soon as Sister seemed to leave without him, Kelsey chased after the adventurous nun and reluctantly boarded the motorbike in Sister’s backpack, whimpering as they sped away.

  

Sister Sam, Kelsey and the Rainstorm 

Sister Samantha heard footsteps and then a knock at the convent door.  Rain was pounding at the window glass and all Sister could see was someone holding an umbrella.  No one was there when the door opened and it was hard to see past the pouring rain.  Sister heard whimpering when she shut the door, prompting her to slowly open it again.  Sitting in a puddle was a small, sad-looking dog under an umbrella.  The forlorn soul reminded Sister Sam of her uncle whose name was Kelsey.

  

Drake the Bulldog and the Chicken Salad Sandwich 

Bonnie’s husband Steve worked from home but sometimes traveled for business.  When he was away, his sister Gertrude would stay with brother and sister dogs Aphrodite and Fred. She would bring her bulldog Drake along too. Drake was grumpy and burley and didn’t like coming over to Aphrodite and Fred’s house. He would act ornery and disinterested and let off a bark of annoyance here and there.  Bonnie didn’t want any of the dogs on her couches, but Drake planted himself in a corner of one, staying there all day.

One thing Gertrude liked to do was make lunch and then watch TV.  She would put her food on an end table and always be called away for some reason.  Drake would then eat everything before she got back.  The angry Gertrude would blame the hapless Aphrodite and Fred.  During one visit though, Gertrude saw the elusive Shane the cat run into the TV room, prompting her to charge in there, hoping to catch the villainous pair of lunch stealers, Aphrodite and Fred.  Instead she found Drake chowing down her chicken salad sandwich.