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ODDS & ENDS
The Yard Sale Lesson
Teachings of a Three Year Old Turned Tyke

by Hal Evan Caplan
July 28, 2008

My little Tyke is my teacher and obviously he gets older with time and he matures... with that the lessons that he teaches me mature. Let me tell you, it is very weird for me to see this aging process. The messages he delivers in the lessons take me completely off guard. After all of the lessons my teacher has taught me already, I find myself quite surprised as he continues to teach me.

My wife and I were getting ready to have a yard sale. Over a period of time, we have collected, I use that term loosely, a lot of, umm... "junk". She and I may disagree with that term, but what can I say, I'm a guy and that's how we process things. Besides, there was a successful book on that very topic. You know the one, "Men are from Mars"... etc etc. 

Anyway, during the process of gathering this (I'll be diplomatic) "stuff", we needed tables in order to place the items on so they were not on the grass. We didn't have the amount of tables needed, so we had to brainstorm.

As my wife and I were in the garage, throwing out ideas, my teacher heard our dilemma. He was in the process of writing scribbles and lines on small pieces of paper and taping them to random items, claiming the amount of money he intended to sell the item. He had voiced his opinion and was determined to sell as much as he could because he really wanted a dog. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE dogs and grew up with two awesome Golden Retrievers; however, we are not in the position to get a dog at this time. My teacher doesn't seem to want to believe that and has even suggested that we sell our 2 cats in order to buy his dream dog...very much the salesman already.

My wife had to run out for some errands so she left. Little did I know that my teacher was about to start his lesson. I'm not really sure why he chooses to teach me, when for the most part, the student population is just one...me.

"Table...table...table." I said out loud, thinking to myself. "What other table can we use?"
"Dad." He piped in. "I know."
Unaware that he was listening to my rambles, I replied, "What is it that you know?"
If looks could talk...he gave me that look.
"Let me just do it." He explained.
"Do what?" I sputtered.

Then like a blurred streak, he raced off in to the house while replying to my question.

"I know what t..a...b......l..." Then, I lost contact as he rounded the kitchen door and was out of sight.

I stood there baffled for a few minutes. I was sure that my teacher would reappear as quickly as he disappeared...but he did not. After about five minutes, he poked his head out of the kitchen door.
"Are you coming, or what?" He exclaimed.
"Oh, sorry...sure I am." I replied, not really sure what I was getting myself into.

As I turned into the kitchen, I immediately saw the issue. My teacher has a small "work table" in his playroom. The table was wedged in the doorway on the other end of the kitchen.

My teacher politely asked that I help him get his table out into the garage.

"Sure, but why are you so interested in moving your table into the garage." I questioned.
I got yet another one of "those" looks.
"Duh, you said you needed tables...what do you call this?" He moaned.
"Yep, this is a table." I agreed.

I helped him carry it out... actually, I carried it and he verbally directed me. Once the table was in the garage, he ran back into the house. Shortly thereafter, he again popped his head out and asked if I was coming. "Great!", I thought to myself...what other table does he have in mind.

As I entered the play room, my teacher was standing on the playroom couch, looking around the room as if he were a boat captain looking out into the ocean.

"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Have you ever seen it before?" He stated.
"Seen what?" I questioned.
"This room without my table in it..."He explained.

Take in mind that we bought and placed the table in his playroom when he was a baby, so this was the first time he had ever seen the room without his table.

"Aahhh." I responded.
"I always wanted to see what this room would look like with that table gone." He stated.

Then as quickly as he came in, he was gone...back in to the garage.

Oh, and just for the record, we did not have that yard sale. Something else, "more fun" came up.

In a nutshell, the lesson that I learned that day is: It's always a good idea to get a different perspective on things.



About the Author:
Originally from Colorado; now residing in Alabama. Hal is married and has a son. Hal loves the outdoors, especially snowboarding and plays ice hockey on a weekly basis...and of course, always learns from his son.


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