The Highway 127 Yard Sale is a six-hundred-mile junk extravaganza stretching from Alabama to Michigan.
Every August, hordes of people come from all over the U.S. to ride the rural route. It starts in the South, shoots through the Midwest, and finally ends in the Great Lake State.
My wife and I leave Birmingham early, heading for Gadsden, where the route begins. We haven’t done the Highway 127 Yard Sale since we were first married, back in the winter of 1912.
The traffic in Birmingham is nightmarish. People drive like they’ve just escaped from a psychiatric unit. Motorists in the left lane drive upward of a hundred miles per hour and honk at you if you travel slower than the sound barrier.
I do not drive fast enough for Birmingham. I know this because while I am driving, a man in a Land Rover rolls his window down and shows me the Universal Finger Gesture.
He actually takes the time to roll his window down, thereby interrupting
his important text-message conversation.
But once we hit the rural parts, the world becomes more relaxed again. There is a feel to this part of Alabama that can’t be described. It’s like exhaling.
There is an epidemic of kudzu, and an exciting buzz in the air because of all the yard-salers. It’s the same kind of excitement that accompanies all major life-events such as weddings, baptisms, and the Winston Cup Series.
Soon, we see white canopy tents lining the highway. Miles of tents. Miles and miles. And I hear choirs of angels singing in the distance because I know that beneath each of these tents is:
I am a connoisseur of junk. A collector, if you will. Inside my garage are mountains of boxes containing rare antiques that—according to many well-respected experts—are worthless.
For instance, I have a collection of Englebert Humperdink records…