People can be the spice of life.

Some are simple and sweet, and leave you with a warm feeling inside.

Others are more complex, adding a delectable richness.

And some leave behind a bitter taste that lingers far too long.

I’m thinking now about the scores of wonderful people I met right in my own front yard during the 127 Yard Sale. Every year we draw in people from around the country, and enjoy some wonderful conversations.

I set up a small table each year to have a personal book signing for our shoppers. There is something about an author sitting right outside his own home that sparks a special interest in people, much more so than a typical show or conference. The book display attracts the most interesting people, and they are eager to stop and chat rather than rush along to the next sale.

Perhaps my most direct and sweet customer was a lady with a distinct southern accent. I told her I loved her accent, and about visiting family in the south during my childhood and how a southern accent brings back pleasant memories.

She smiled broadly, and told me she was from Texas. She was having a blast along the sale, she said, and she talked about some of the treasures she already found along the way.

My most interesting conversation this year was with two women from the west coast. They said they came east just for the 127 sale, and started in Michigan and were heading south.

One is currently a resident of Washington state, but grew up in a small town near Indianapolis. She looked around at the cornfields surrounding our property and smiled, telling me how much she enjoyed the Midwest. I believe she was just a bit homesick, and she told me how much she loved our house and yard.

She asked how much we knew about the history of the home, and was fascinated by the details Diane and I were able to share. That the house was almost certainly a stop on the Underground Railroad, and that four Civil War soldiers grew up in the house and two did not live to return home, was amazing to her.

Her travel companion was from California, and she was fascinated with my books. We talked for quite a while about my writing, and my weekly On My Mind column. The paranormal in particular caught her interest, and before she left she purchased my “I Met a Ghost at Gettysburg” book. I told her I am always interested in feedback from my writing, so she took a business card. Perhaps I will hear back from her once she returns home and gets a chance to read the book.

For the most part the people were friendly, and we had some good-natured banter over their offers and our counter offers. Only one person was truly rude, because we were tied up answering questions and taking other people’s money and he had to wait longer than he wanted.

Only one person truly irritated me. I had a container of old photographs and I was asking a dollar apiece for them. There were perhaps 70 or 80 photos in all, and he asked if I would take five bucks for the entire box. I normally am not offended by lowball offers, but usually they are at least in the ballpark. This guy wasn’t even in the same city as the ballpark.

I have just one more quick observation about folks leaving a bitter taste in your mouth, although this took place at the medical center, not the sale. I was waiting for Diane, when a woman sat down two chairs over and decided to have a cell phone conversation.

Of course she had to turn the phone volume up and hold the phone in front of her instead of near her ear so I could plainly hear both irritating ends of this conversation, and I quietly muttered “Thank you” under my breath when they called her back to see the physical therapist.

I suppose it’s true even with people, that variety is the spice of life.

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