The bright red, white and blue decorations have been packed away for another year, the kids have finished all their candy stash gathered from the Fourth of July parade and the remnants of fireworks packages were relegated to the trash can several days ago. We’ve put away the American flags until the next national holiday and are busy planning summer trips, working in the garden or catching up on all those endless house and yard projects that never, ever seem to get done.

If one of those projects was to downsize and find new homes for clothing that doesn’t fit anymore, dishes currently in boxes in the basement or garage, pictures and decorative items that someone else might be happy to use in their homes or apartments — help is on the way. The Monmouth Business Association is sponsoring the Community Yard Sale in Main Street Park on Sept. 2 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

There is no charge to reserve a spot to display and sell all those items to willing buyers. Please register online at the Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce website at http//www.micc-or.org/ or call Mark Fancey at 503-751-0147. This is the eighth year for the community garage sale, which has always been a great event.

We were recently walking home from Main Street Park and saw a young man carrying a big bouquet of fresh flowers. I complimented him on how pretty they were, and he told me they were for a memorial to his fiancée, who died in a car crash last year. He told me that he loved and missed her so much.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up into everyday drama, to complain about politics, or traffic or so much trivia that we miss the bigger picture, that people have truly suffered life-changing tragedies and are getting through their days the best way they possibly can. Lives can be forever altered in a split second, and nothing is ever the same again.

Talking for a few minutes with this young man reminded me to be grateful for the good things in our lives, of those whom we love, those who love us, the beauty of a sunrise and how good a glass of fresh lemonade tastes on a hot summer day. Petting a sweet dog while on a walk or enjoying a good book with a cat sleeping beside you in a comfy chair. How we are so thankful that our children and our grandchildren are happy and healthy and enjoying life. May our hearts be open to those who are truly suffering such a great loss. And may we be grateful for our blessings every day.

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