I must admit I wasn’t looking forward to it. No! I’m not referring to Pesach, as the title might imply; it was the thought of returning to St. Louis so that we could empty out the contents of our home and ready it for its new owners. Over twenty years of accumulation required purging. Decisions needed to be made:

  1.  What would we ship back to Santa Rosa?
  2.  What would we try to sell?
  3.  What would we have to have carted away?

Closing was scheduled for March 28th and in looking over our schedule, the only opportunity for Susan and me to fly to St. Louis would be the weekend before, returning late Sunday evening. We decided to take a late Wednesday night flight out of San Francisco which would give us Thursday, Friday, Saturday night and Sunday to try to get the job done. Of course the fact that Monday was erev Pesach only added to the level of stress!

We had advertised an “Estate Sale” in the Post-Dispatch and offered two larger items on Craig’s List. Whatever didn’t sell would have to be carted off or shipped to Santa Rosa, and there wasn’t exactly a “big window” in which to figure which was which.

On Friday, people stopped by in a trickle. At the same time I had to figure what we were going to have hauled off, since we only had Friday and Sunday to do the job. While past experience at these sales had been less than encouraging, I must admit that I did learn two major lessons this time.

A gentleman stopped by to see what we had for sale. In the basement he came across a rusty enamel cabinet that had come with the house when we bought it in 1991. It was so decrepit that I never used it for anything in over twenty years. The gentleman saw me and said, “How much do you want for this cabinet?”

I responded, “What would you say to $20 ?”

Without another word he took twenty dollars out of his pocket and handed it to me.Now it’s possible that I sold him a 2,000 dollar cabinet for $20 dollars, but that’s fine with me. From my “non-expert” perspective the lesson learned was: Never try to guess what anyone might want to purchase! Lesson number two for garage/estate sales was: make sure you have a table or two with nothing marked and let people know they can name their price. (I really think it’s a “control thing”!)

Finally, it really was a tremendous lesson having to send so much “stuff” off with the hauler. He wound up taking four (Yes, four!) cartloads. A lot of the things he took weren’t junk at all; just things we couldn’t take with us nor sell. (A big snowstorm, Sunday, had a negative effect on anyone who might have been curious to see what we had to offer). It made me realize just how ephemeral a hold we have on the material things we think we “own”. It really doesn’t take much at all to lose our grip on them.Coming, as this experience did, on the eve of Pesach, it made me wonder what it must have been like for those Israelites, leaving their homes in Egypt and having to make similar decisions, all for something they believed would be better.

May you and your families be blessed with a relaxing and safe summer.


Rabbi Mordecai Miller