To the woman who returned her yard sale item … thank you!

Last month my brother and sister-in-law had a yard sale at their home in Levant. As people do with yard sales, I used it as an opportunity to purge belongings that no longer had a purpose.

(Have you read Marie Kondo’s books? She makes you want to get rid of everything!)

Anyway, I had this set of bamboo knitting needles and yarn that someone left at my former job and they sat in the lost and found for several months. Next they made their way to my office for another few months before I finally said to myself:  ‘I’m just going to teach myself to knit.’ The project was already started … but barely. It was a scarf.

As it goes, the bag sat in my closet for over a year, because, really, my desire to learn wasn’t that great. It was more the idea of learning something (anything) new that initially excited me.

So the yard sale came around and I said goodbye.

A nice “shopper” was talking to me about the needles and yarn as I helped my sister-in-law with the sale. I told her how I wanted to take up the hobby at some point, but just never got around to it. Eventually she said, “Well it’ll give me something to do while my husband drives or while I sit around this summer.”

The woman, who was somewhere between the age of my mother and grandmother, was one of those people whom you immediately enjoy their presence and conversation.

So yesterday, my sister-in-law got home to a bag hanging on their front door. Inside was the completed scarf! No note or name or anything accompanying the project that would make her stand out or allow her to be identified.

Of course, her face popped into my head right away.

And that’s the beauty of human interaction … and why I continue to believe in people. It didn’t matter that we never shook hands or exchanged names during our conversation. What mattered during those few moments, is that we spoke at all. Beyond the hello. Beyond the how are you … how about this weather?

Last night when my sister-in-law dropped off the surprise, my daughter showed us how to tie the scarf in 25 different styles using her best 6-year-old fashion sense.

I got rid of this item because it served no purpose sitting in my closet and it came back with the purpose of reminding me how important it is to let go … not just of “stuff” but to let go of the notion that humanity is lost.

The completed project

The completed project


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Erinne Magee

About Erinne Magee

Erinne is a Maine-based writer and freelance editor specializing in first person essays, poetry and picture books. Her work has appeared in publications like: The Washington Post, Redbook, Yahoo News, The Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping and The Toronto Sun. For more, visit: