Posted by: deadmousediaries | March 25, 2011

Subtle Signs that Spring is Just Around the Corner – some observations from Mitchell Kyd

Dear Readers! I am so happy to let you know that the Mercersburg Journal has taken a chance on me and has started to carry a Mitchell Kyd column on occasion, once or twice a month.  The first story ran this week( ( 3/22/11) and it appears below. I am so grateful for this opportunity. I hope that you will look for my stories there and let the great people at the Journal know you are reading!

New material will continue to appear on this blog site as well as in the newspaper column but fresh Journal stories will only be posted to this site after they appear in print.   Here is my first submission…

Subtle Signs that Spring is Just Around the Corner

The kitchen table is stacked with seed catalogs and the occasional warm and spectacular day now launches a flurry of little no-see-ums that will flit about in the afternoon sun. Signs of spring? Absolutely! But there is other, more visible evidence of our annual migration back to life: the signs that start sprouting up along the roadway. Watch for them as proof we’re heading into another green and busy season.

Yard Sale Ahead. Spring has officially sprung when mild-mannered homeowners are transformed into small business moguls and treasure hunters with the annual ritual known as the yard sale. Nothing charms a dollar out of our hands quicker than the promise of excavating an amazing find from the bottom of a yard sale box lot. It’s been said that a woman will pay $20 for an $60 item she doesn’t need because she knows that it’s a bargain and a man will pay $20 for a $5 item he does need because he doesn’t want to shop. Either way, this spontaneous cousin of the indoor flea market signals it’s time to clear out last year’s junk to make room for future yard sale finds.

Road Work Ahead. With more than 1,700 miles of public roads in Franklin County, it’s no wonder that the opening of construction season must align so perfectly with the earliest break of good weather. Be patient and welcome the appearance of these highway workers in their florescent orange and yellow hats and vests. Think of them as them as over-sized daffodils dotting the landscape of a roadside beautification project.

Free Kittens Ahead. When has spring ever arrived without the abundance of little furballs waiting for adoption? It’s the time of year when tom cats sprawl across the sidewalk without the energy to muster as much as a sleepy wink. Now that the fight has been loved out them for another season, they are on break from their caterwauling and fierce battles. They’re content to nurse their tattered ears and gaze innocently at their humans, leaving their progeny to wrap their way around the ankles and into the hearts of new adopted humans of their own.

Car Wash Ahead. You can’t discount the conspicuous sign of spring created by soapy sponges being sloshed about by kids in cut-off jeans and flip-flops. There are countless community athletic leagues as well as six public school districts in Franklin County, all with sports teams that need money. What better way to ensure our athletes can continue to run, jump, pitch, slide, throw, kick and cheer than rinsing away the final remnants of winter at their car wash fundraiser?

Chicken Bar-b-Que Ahead. More than five million broiler chickens are produced in Franklin County each year and they don’t all end up at KFC. Grilling season is another sign of spring and it is officially kicked off  when those first brave volunteers bundle up before dawn to coax the heat from the huge bar-b-que pits at a Lions Park or Ruritan Club. Like Pavlov’s dog, we begin to drool at the first hint of burning charcoal while the hiss of secret sauce whispers sweet nothings to our picnic-deprived souls . When that first plump piece of tender white meat hits the Styrofoam plate along with a scoop of cole slaw and a glob of applesauce, fast food sales take a nose dive.

Garage Sale Ahead. Don’t confuse this with the yard sale; this event takes place in the male domain. The garage sale sends out a siren song for men to rummage through coffee cans of metal pieces-parts or explore a box of greasy chains and gears looking for the perfect thingamabob that will finally fix the screen door or the mower. Old fishing tackle and recycled Father’s Day gifts of yore will also be sacrificed during this attempt to reclaim some floor space for the rototiller that has been in storage all winter at a rental unit. Just be warned that if this sign reads GROJ Sale, it translates to Get Rid of Junk.  That means last year’s yard sale leftovers never made it to the dumpster.

Copyright 2011. Mitchell Kyd.  All rights reserved.



  1. Spot on!

  2. I cant wait to hit my first yard sale this year ! As you know we have our own yard sales also, i call our yard sales , The yard sale for men , because my husband sells stuff that i would never even consider selling, but let me tell you he sells it to MEN! lol. Like you said it ranges from old tools , greasy bike stuff, fishing stuff , old ladders that i wouldnt trust my 5lb dog to walk on, but you know what , i think he does it for the love of people. He is a people kinda person. He gets to talking to the men and the women come and nose at my stuff and i do sell stuff but than the women go and get in their cars and wait another what seems like a half hour for their guys to leave my husbands tables. Its funny to watch some of those women when they get into their cars, they keep looking back at their husbands by looking in there rear view mirrors, or the mirror on their car doors, they look so mad but if they notice me looking at them they just smile and wave . Yeah women i am a woman too, i know what you are going through! some times i just wonder over to them and we strike up a conversation. Then when their men come and get into the car they expect us to stop talking right than and there, imagine that. Oh the fun of summer. I cant wait!!!!!

  3. I’m not a person who enjoys yard sales…….I’ll take the construction signs and free kittens signs any time!! Just not the kittens, our two 7 month old kittens are keeping me plenty busy and taking care of my daily cuddle quota. Keep the stories coming, I always look forward to your thoughts.

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