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Friday, November 13, 2015



     My friend Bill has been a Somers resident for about a decade or so, and like me, grew up in Chappaqua. There he became involved in something that has become a community institution. It's called Take It Or Leave It, and it's part swap meet, part recycling center, part museum and part block party.

     It happens every Saturday morning from 9:00AM to 12:00PM from May to November. People show up with things that have been lying around their house or garage for so long the original patent has expired. For example, a wife might come by with a VCR that has been flashing 12:00 ever since a power failure in 2007. Town residents rummage through the articles, and almost always find something they need, even if it's not what they came for. For instance, a husband might find a VCR similar to one that went missing a week ago, which was working just fine as far as he knew.

     Bill told me it was a win-win situation, so I went over there expecting to win something. Which I didn't, thank you very much, but I did find a thriving, bustling circle of people who each had something to gain from what started as a nifty idea and has grown into a social happening.

     There were all kinds, shapes and colors of people there, and all sorts of merchandise. Sports equipment- there were lots of balls. There were more balls than debutante season in Savannah, Georgia, and this sentence could have come out way worse.

     There was a wake board, which was good because 9:00AM on a Saturday is awfully early. There was a huge children's Busy Box that kept me occupied for a little longer than is prudent to say. There were cassettes, there were record albums. Did you know that Yo-yo Ma put out a record with Bobby Mcferrin? I can make up a lot of stuff but I couldn't make THAT up.

      Looking around, I was reminded of the time my wife tried to throw out a garbage can. It's not as easy as you'd think it would be, and I thought I noticed smoke coming out of the ears of the trash collector. Could they refuse our refuse?

     While I was there, one woman showed up with a stroller and no baby, another woman had a baby and no stroller. They both left happy. Let me clarify that they exchanged the stroller, not the baby.

     Someone left a Kaypro II, which was the first transportable computer ever made, from the early 1980s (I looked it up). It looked like it might have been transported from the Smithsonian, but don't you know? Somebody took it. Probably someone who had a Kaypro I and was looking to upgrade.

     Take It Or Leave It is like a tag sale, only with a slightly smaller profit margin. Then again they don't have to pay for the tags. I held a tag sale when my mother died and found the experience slightly demeaning. You could be selling a set of King Louis XV chairs for a dollar, and people will dicker with you.
"Will you take eighty cents for these? The yard sale down the road has them for 60 cents, but I'm already here."
"These are original Louis XV chairs!"
"If they're so great why is he getting rid of them?"

     I asked Bill what was the weirdest thing they had ever accepted, and he said without hesitation, a cow inseminator, used for the purpose of fertilizing cow eggs. Which does answer the age-old question of which came first, the cow or the egg, but doesn't answer the question, "Am I going to need larger toast with this breakfast???"

     Bill (and I and probably plenty of others) would love to see a version of Take It Or Leave It in Somers, and he would love to hear from anyone who is interested in this idea- it runs with about six dedicated volunteers and the good graces of the town. You can reach him at wihaku@gmail.com. I waited around a little while longer hoping that someone had a pizza they were no longer using, and possibly the unused portion of a Coors Light 12-pack.

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