Yesterday my wife and I were in the valley. The valley is arguably the most beautiful place in all the Maritime Provinces (I would differ with this, Cape Breton would be my choice). We did eventually walk through the downtown of Wolfville, along the trail, eat and drink at an outdoor café. But what was my first instinct? “Kim, do you know there is a new Value Village in New Midas?” My wife is a remarkably patient woman. She went to the Coles at the County Fair Mall. I walked up and down the aisles of my favorite store.
At the risk of sounding like a Halifax snob the New Midas Value Village was great but not nearly as large as the Halifax and Dartmouth stores. But nonetheless it was a used clothing store and like the Frenchys, the Salvation Army Thrift Stores, these Value Village offer me something I cannot get anywhere else. I call it the buried treasure effect. When I was a boy one of the cool things everyone wanted was a metal detector. Lots of people had them. You would see people at beaches, in parks, places people walked and gathered, walking along with the metal detector, a flat round device that was attached to a metal pole with a grip at the top. If the device told you there was something underneath you would dig until you found the “buried treasure.”
99.9% of the time it was nothing, a piece of useless metal. Occasionally it was a nickel or better, a quarter. But for the longest time this fad kept people going out to public places and walking around with these devices. And then it stopped.
I think that is why I am attracted to Value Village and all other used clothing stores. It’s not that I enjoy shopping, I don’t. It’s not that I am desperately in need of clothing, I am not. It’s that I never ever know when I walk in that specific store what in the world I will find.
Yesterday was such a day. As per usual I bought one thing for me and one thing for someone else. Like my mother I get more excitement about buying things for others than I do for myself. So I bought a pair of mint gardening shoes for a friend and I bought myself a sweat shirt from the local L’Arche community. I love L’Arche so picking up this sweat shirt was a real treasure! And living up to my own household rule when I got home I immediately found another garment, a sweater that was a little short for my long torso, and put it away to be donated the Brunswick Street Mission. I call it the “whatever comes in the house, there must be something that leaves the house” rule. No clutter here.
I think this is also why I love visiting. Everyone from churches is somewhat familiar but only on the surface. The visit will open up them to me and me to them, and in that moment there will be something like finding a new treasure. Certainly that is how I feel when I leave their home.
In Forrest Gump Tom Hank’s character says, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to find with you open it.” I could not agree more. Get your metal detectors ready!