Starting with the first house this side of the Alabama state line, yard sales popped up all along the highway Friday. Cars, which usually whiz by at 55 mph, crawled along as drivers scanned the offerings. People walked back and forth across the street confident that traffic would wait for them.
Small towns like Trickum, usually only marked by a church and a store, came alive. Sellers crammed into every available space along the road and in the parking lots. Cars parked haphazardly in the grass.
Joe Kierbow of Carrollton, Ga., shopped at a house with four sales set up in the yard. He and his wife, who was off looking for treasures of her own, came to browse just as they have for the last 10 years, he said.
“We just like to look around and see what kind of junk other people have got,” Kierbow said.
He’s gotten some great deals over the years. Last year, Kierbow said, he got an Ambassador fishing rod for $1. Those usually sell for $60 or $70, he said.
“I guess they didn’t know what they had,” Kierbow said.
Dawn Sudberry, one of the sellers trying to tempt Kierbow and his wife on Friday, was set up with three other people in her grandmother Dessie McGuire’s yard. She started selling old clothes and household goods with her grandmother Thursday and planned to sell through Saturday.
“I like to get the money,” Sudberry said. Then nodding toward her grandmother she added, “She likes to get out and see people.”
Farther down the road in front of an old salvage store and fruit stand, Linda Estes and her daughters had set up three separate sales.
Estes said she does the Highway 46 sale every year. Her tables Friday were spread with glass — bowls, vases, platters and glasses all arranged by color. She wore a money belt and had a dog-eared book about Depression-era glass open on one of her tables.
She buys the pieces as she and her husband travel and sells them at the sale, Estes said.
“Enjoy it,” she said.
Her daughter Joyce Wingo of Oxford had brought over glass, clothes, household goods, “just a little of everything,” Wingo said.
She thinks she’ll sell about $400 to $500 over the weekend, but the main draw is her family, she said.
“To spend time with my mother and sister, that’s it,” Wingo said.
At the Bulldog restaurant in Ranburne, owner Mariah Kelley said the sale always brings in more customers, but she still doesn’t like it.
“It’s crazy,” Kelley said. “The drivers, people trying to park where there’s no parking places, people in the road.”
Kelley was among the minority in her feelings. Country Boys gas station was packed with customers. Jacki Langley, co-owner of the station, said the sale always brings a lot of business into Ranburne.
“We look forward to it,” Langley said.
She lets people set up in the empty lot next door on a first-come, first-served basis, Wingo said. Dozens of trucks, trailers and tables were set up Friday morning.
We start getting calls probably two months in advance,” Wingo said. “Some of ’em started setting up Wednesday.”
It’s as much a social event as a chance to make money, said Donna Hammonds of Ranburne.
She was selling items, but also browsing.
“I love it,” Hammonds said. “Most everybody, my family comes. You get to see old classmates, people you haven’t seen in awhile.”
Tony Hyde from Bowdon, Ga., said he comes every year hoping to see old friends.
“My mom lives in Ranburne,” Hyde said. “I was raised here.”
He was checking out the sales without his wife Friday and had a list of items he would like to find — white paint, barn-red paint, a gun, lawnmower tires, power tools.
“She told me not to buy anything,” Hyde said with a laugh. “That’s probably not going to happen.”
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.