Barb Miller: Making the Ordinary Special

Barb Miller has always been pathologically creative. In her thirties, she joined a drama team where she acted and occasionally wrote short dramas. With her specialty being humor, there was a period in Barb’s life where she wrote and performed stand up comedy. Now her focus is mainly writing. For her father’s 85th birthday, she wrote a children’s book and recently completed the second in the series, which is interesting since she doesn’t even have children. As Barb says, “I really don’t write as much as take dictation for the voices in my head.” With this blog, she shows how you can take an ordinary situation and ordinary experience and turn it into something extraordinary.   


It seems in life that men are forever chasing golf balls, a plaid shirt that is almost identical to the others they already have, or the next new car smell. Women, on the other hand, are in constant pursuit of the perfect purse.

Barb Miller

I sit here in a chair looking at a collection of used purses laid out on a table at our garage sale. I recall how each served a purpose at one time in my life. They provided not only a practical means of portable storage with their impressive amounts of pockets and compartments, but also an attempt to make some sort of personal fashion statement.  If asked, I could not specify why any one of those purses inevitably was emptied and put high on the shelf in the closet.  And I can’t explain why I continue to tolerate my current purse that has only one pocket, but otherwise is just a bottomless pit.  They should make an “app” for locating items in your purse. But, that would only work if I could actually find my phone that is lost somewhere in the black hole that is my purse. Come to think of it, I do know why I still put up with this particular purse. Yes, it is stylish and when I first saw it, it some how spoke to me that it was the purse for me. The only plausible reason would be that of pure destiny. But, the real reason that I continue to use this purse is because it brings back the memories that go with it when I bought it.

It was a couple of years ago now that we were in New York City with my sister and her family. We were daring the New York adventure of shopping for underground black market designer purses. Having navigated Canal Street before, my sister new just the right winks and nods it took to connect with the sales people that would guide us past the store fronts and down into the secret chambers of wholesale brand name purses. The game was to play the shopper that is unwilling to accept the ticket price and even make the move of walking away. This of course, prompted the last ditch effort of bargaining for a price that would not only seal the deal, but make for the best stories of the trip. My sister, and her soon to be daughter-in-law, bought a couple of purses for a fraction of the cost of retail. They nonchalantly surfaced back onto the street carrying their contraband in the tell-tale black plastic bags that indicated to all of the other black market dealers that they were “players.”

That experience in itself was a blast, but I really didn’t need a purse and up to that point had no reason to buy one.  While we continued our journey through the purse stores of Canal Street, we walked into a small unobtrusive store displaying more purses that pretty much looked like all of the other purses that we had seen so far, except for that “one” purse.  For some reason I was drawn to it. Nobody else in the group paid any attention to it. I picked it up and threw it over my shoulder; it just felt right. I put it back on the shelf and tried to convince myself that even at that ridiculously low price, I didn’t need a purse. I started to walk away but somehow felt compelled to turn around and look at it just one more time. I figured by doing that and not turning into a pillar of salt, it was God’s will that I buy that purse after all.

As of today I still use this purse. Oh, some day another purse will come along and invariably take its place, or out of necessity due to wear and tear I will need to buy another purse. But, until such time, I will continue to dive for keys, pens, floss, and the like, that are buried deep in the bottom of this purse. You see, every time I pick up that purse it takes me back to Canal Street in New York City, and all the precious times shared there with my sister and family.  Some day in the future there will come another garage sale where I will lay this purse onto the table and attach to it a piece of masking tape with a price on it. Maybe when that day comes, some one else will see that purse and, for whatever reason, it will speak to them too.

You know that old saying that “garage sales are one man’s junk but another man’s treasure?”  I don’t think of it as “junk”, but rather just closure to treasured memories that are about to take on a new story when someone else takes home their own new found “treasure.”

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