For sale: Family memories. Some happy, some not. Priced to sell quickly.
For all the great minds around the planet pondering wealth inequality, one easy fix is garage sales. We have one at our Kula home maybe once a year when the past and some more recent ill-advised consumer impulses catch up with us and there is no more space in the garage. Literally.
I have no interest in going to other people's garage sales, but always enjoy ours a lot. When you don't go to many parties, garage sales suffice. True, they require a little advance hunting and gathering, not to mention the soul-searching decision of whether to ask $1 or $2, 50 cents or a quarter for any particular item.
But there is a sense of purpose - or repurpose - in seeing something that has become useless in your own life begin a whole new chapter in someone else's. Kids are especially good on this point, whether a very little girl cradling a brand-new (for her) baby doll in her arms, or a young man whose dad brings him back after they have researched the mountain bike we were selling.
The bike was barely used. Each time I tried, it reminded me how old I have become.
"I've only got $160," he said. We were asking $200. "Sold," I said.
Not much business sense on my part . . . but paying it forward counts for something.
Garage sales are opportunities to catch up with friends you haven't seen since the last one.
Jim Mclemore - better known to island music fans as Jimmy Mac - is a regular, one of the guys who utilizes GPS to strategize his garage-sale map the night before. This time his wife, Annie, is with him. This won't be the first time one of my old aloha shirts will reinvent itself as "vintage" on the rack in Annie's Paia Trading Co.
The antique store is Paia's oldest, says Jimmy. "It specializes in museum piece, like me."
Hardly . . . at least not as long as he and the Kool Kats keep pumping out the high-octane rock 'n' roll every year at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Maui Calls.
They're a fixture at the annual fundraiser, which returns Friday, Aug. 8. This year's Maui Calls marks the 20th anniversary of our much-loved and well-used MACC, which maybe should go back to calling itself "The Center," at least where the island's creative life is concerned.
Here come photographer Rob Ratkowski and his wife, Diane. I haven't seen Rob since collaborating with him, incorporating some of his dazzling astronomical photos of a sky full of stars dancing over Haleakala Crater in our new film, "The Quietest Place on Earth."
Directed by Tom Vendetti, who co-produced with Robert Stone and myself, the documentary will have its world premiere Nov. 9 as part of the ARISE Film and Music Benefit at the MACC.
Presented by Mental Health Kokua, the nonprofit agency which Vendetti also directs, the all-day event directed by Don Lane is dedicated to breaking down the stigma our society places on mental illness and replacing it with mental health for us all.
Other illnesses send you to the doctor. The mental kinds, which touch a huge segment of the society, often send their victims into trying to hide their condition. Mental illness is not a crime - although the law sometimes deals with it that way. To learn more about it - including seeing just how thin the line is between what is called a mental disorder and what is called brilliant - visit the ARISE page on Facebook.
Among the next waves of garage salers buying basketballs, beach balls, golf balls, Halloween makeup, baby car seats, beach chairs, CDs, power drills and powder puffs are Cynthia Conrad, a contributor to this column, and her husband, Jerry Labb, one of the guys who have gotten Mana'o Hana Hou Radio turned back on, more powerful than ever at 91.7 FM.
Fun 23 Preschool Director Vickie Cunningham happens by, bringing her discerning eye to our wares. She mentions that because of the bump-up in age for kids entering kindergarten, she and her staff are expanding beyond their comfy home by Kula Hospital. They're working with St. John's Church to make space for Fun 45 for older Upcountry preschoolers; it's already full.
That's the thing about garage sales talk story is the real currency. The coconut wireless is the franchise. Commerce is a byproduct. Big scores are in the eye of the beholder.
It's pointless to be greedy - there's enough profit to go around.
* Rick Chatenever, former entertainment and features editor of The Maui News, is a freelance journalist, instructor at UH-Maui College and Emmy-nominated scriptwriter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 344-9535.