Garage Sale Angel



Dad, I need your help. Though you’re no longer with me, I still look to you for guidance. Show me a sign. I need a little nudge in the right direction.

So went the constant loop in my mind as I walked through our current home. For as long as I can remember, I have always turned to my dad for his wisdom when I’m in a tight spot. I always knew his guidance was key in whatever path I ultimately chose. He was my biggest supporter and my closest friend. Most of my memories of him include a power tool in his hand. I loved following him around as he worked on cars, cleaned and organized his tools, completed another repair on our old house, never able to get enough of his presence.

My dad passed away when I was in college but it hasn’t stopped me from “talking” to him through the years, especially when I am working through something.

After numerous relocations, I had the moving thing down. While my husband focused on his new job, I tackled the task of getting the kids settled in a new school, making friends, and ultimately making the house a home. We had purchased our current home with plans to remodel and make this our forever home. It was a decision we made after eight moves in thirteen years. We were done roaming and ready to settle down.

However, I found myself torn between wanting to sell our home or going through an extensive remodel, a dilemma I never imagined when we initially purchased the house.

During our search for the perfect home, we looked at many houses. As I walked from room to room trying to imagine my family in them, inviting wall colors and shiny hardwood floors fit for the glossy pages of a magazine still didn’t make me feel like the word “home” would ever find a home in my heart. One afternoon, we arrived at the house we eventually came to dub “the one with good bones.”

At first glance, it was apparent this home was in need of a little tender loving care, but I was not to be deterred. I had gathered the previous owner was a recently divorced single mom of three. My eyes took in the carpet that needed replacing and the walls that needed a fresh coat of paint. My heart took in years of love and memories as I stood teary-eyed before a growth chart on the pantry door. Its measurements were faded as though someone had begun the process of erasing it, but couldn’t bring themselves to complete the task.

Our home search kept taking us back to “the one with good bones.” I began to envision tucking my children in at night with every visit. I could visualize us in the dining room, enjoying home cooked meals and conversation. As I slowly made my way through each room, a picture began to take shape as each scene transformed the house into a home, our home.

The next year, filled that house with our own memories.  Yet, when the time came for the remodel, we began to doubt ourselves. Should we stay or should we go was on repeat in my mind as contractors walked through the house providing quotes and plans. Thus began my constant plea for my dad’s help in making the decision on whether we put the home on the market or committed to a full remodel.

As summer approached I found myself completely out of sorts about our future. It was around this time I signed us up for a neighborhood garage sale. We rose early to set up at the top of our long driveway, and began the daunting task of placing a price on items that no longer held the value they once did when we bought them. Items we once believed we couldn’t live without now awaited their next home. My husband decided to sell an old corded drill that once belonged to my father. He put a ten dollar sticker on it.

We spent the day laughing at his overpriced drill as each person who picked it up quickly returned it to the shelf. I casually reminded him how long it had been since he had used it, given the new cordless drill he now preferred. He replied with one of his own father’s favorite sayings, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” As the day progressed, my husband stood by his drill, assuring us there was one person out there destined to give this drill a new home.

By early afternoon we were ready to call it a day, and began the process of closing up shop. It was then a man approached the house, and slowly walked up the long driveway. Each step that brought him closer to us, made my heart beat a little faster. I had never seen him before, but suddenly felt something familiar about this stranger. I held my breath as he approached the drill. I was mesmerized as he reached for it. Something told me he wasn’t going to put it back on the shelf.

Drill in hand, he made his way over to us, and what he said next changed my life. His name was Dave. He shared how he and his wife had their hearts set on living in our neighborhood, but had been waiting for a house to come on the market. Chills ran the length of my spine as he waved the drill around emphasizing his point.

The words left my mouth before I could stop them. I invited Dave to bring his wife that afternoon to see our house, explaining it wasn’t on the market but we were considering listing it. During the tour, memories flooded me as I pointed out well lit rooms, drew their attention to freshly painted walls, and even shared our vision for the unfinished basement. As they followed me up the stairs I was hit with a flashback of the week I spent painting the railings, music blaring, kids dancing. In such a short time, our family had created so many memories in this house. The doubt began to re-surface as I reached the top step. I took a moment to collect myself as Dave and his wife made their way upstairs.

Dad, if you’re listening, I need you now more than ever. It’s decision time and I’m still unsure of what to do.

Just then, the couple’s whispers floated up to me, and I heard Dave say to his wife, “Honey, this house has good bones.” My heart was full as I smiled at them with tears in my eyes. Dave bought the drill that day and the house two months later.

As I handed him the keys, he gave my hand a little squeeze and whispered, “It’s time to put that new drill to good use.”

6 thoughts on “Garage Sale Angel

  1. What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. I too look for my dad for guidance. He passed away almost three years ago. Every time I find a penny on the ground.I know he is with me. Pennies from heaven.


  2. I remember meeting you and you saying that you were sure this would be your forever house. I was sorry that you left the neighborhood so soon, but “Dave”and his wife are very nice. I was glad to read the story of how this all occurred. Best wishes and good health in your new home.


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