Becky Ornelas hoisted the griffin on her shoulder during her garage sale

I climbed out of my car and gave a quick overview to the items on the tables at a garage sale a couple weekends ago. One object—rather, creature—stood out to me. It seemed to be watching me, following me with its green marble eyes as I circled the tables.

Finally, I picked it up and asked the couple hosting the garage sale, "What in the heck is this thing?"

Becky and Ed Ornelas explained that it was a griffin, a mythical animal with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle.

"We took our son to the Renaissance Festival when he was a teenager,” Becky said. “He loved it so much we let him get it although it cost over $40."

Becky perched the animal on her shoulder and showed me how to use the long cable to turn its beaked head up and down and side to side. Definitely creepy looking with its long claws, green wings, and furry body.

"Do you mind if I name this "The-Weirdest-Thing-I've-Ever-Seen-at-a-Garage-Sale?"

"No," they laughed, "and it's yours for $1."  

They had one less piece of clutter after living in Ahwatukee for 18 years, and I had a new little friend.

I followed the signs to the next garage sale. The shady front yard and driveway were filled with tables of toys, electronic goods, and clothes hanging from the trees. I introduced myself to Louis and Linda Tahnukos, who have lived there nearly four decades. They were just de-cluttering a little.

I noticed the daffodil and iris leaves poking up in their front yard, and Louis began telling me about his gardening hobby.

I gave them a postcard with a captioned photo collage I'd put together for the Ahwatukee Community Garden.

Anyone interested in gardening is welcome to drop in on Sunday mornings from 8-9:30 right behind the Farmer's Market at 48th Street and Warner Road.

I picked out a black tee and a burgundy long sleeved blouse for $1.50 each. Then I noticed one of the wackiest things I'd ever seen at a garage sale: a bright lime green fuzzy bag with big black and white googly eyes. Linda said, "You can have it for 10 cents."

Just then my friend, May Beth Williamson, and her Blue Heeler, Patty, pulled up. Immediately people began oohing and aahing over the friendly pooch wearing a lei and sunglasses.

"I just got the gaudiest purse at the last garage sale," May Beth said, showing me a black shoulder bag with a large red flower flopping off the front.

"Look what I just found," I said, showing her the hairy green bag. We shared a long laugh, and goofed around posing with our new handbags.

I drove away down a different street, and was amazed by a wildly surreal Boojum Tree towering at least 14 feet tall over someone's front yard.

Boojums are worth up to $1,000 per foot. They bare expensive, hard to grow from seed and illegal to take from the wild.

The owner bought this one from the Desert Botanical Garden around 1986 when it was a few inches tall. The only place it grows naturally is Baja California and a small area in mainland Sonora, Mexico.

The tree looks like a giant green candle or an upside-down carrot, with branches sticking out of it perpendicularly from top to bottom. It blooms with sweet-smelling white flowers in the spring and turns brown and dead-looking in the summer.

You never know what you'll find when you follow the garage sale arrows around our neighborhood—something weird, wacky or wild.

-Know of any upcoming charity or garage sales in Ahwatukee? Contact or see .

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