If you haven't shopped Deseret Industries in Provo, you're missing out on some terrific discoveries. Thrift store shopping is not for wimps. It requires one to possess an amateur archaeologist's naivete. You have to be willing to put in long, grueling hours to uncover your treasures. But when you make that important find, all the dirty work doesn't matter. You're intoxicated. Given any spare time, you're ready to dig in and make the next important discovery.

My mother always told me there's a rule decreed in heaven, or somewhere else equally indisputable, which states, "If you regularly donate to Deseret Industries when you have extra, you'll be able to find what you need there when times get tight."I am living proof of her prophecy. I regularly sack up anything we're not using and take it to the loading dock in the rear of D.I. When times have gotten a little tight, I will invariably find that much-needed coat for Jordan, dress for Arianne or toy truck just in time for Jacob's birthday.

When I was a young girl, my family often spent time shopping at Deseret Industries in Provo. I was one of eight daughters and we had to learn to make over and make do with what we could find there. I remember looking timidly around me, embarrassed to see anyone I knew.

My attitude quickly changed when my friends accused me of being spoiled because I had so many cute clothes at school. When I had to baby-sit, pick cherries or knit hotpads for my school clothes money, Deseret Industries was a real life saver.

I've recently discovered another kind of treasure at my favorite thrift store. It was while shoveling through mounds of coats, I uncovered Monica. Monica is an attractive Mexican mother about my age. I found her at my elbow rummaging through coats for her children also. We began talking and soon I knew all the ages, gender and sizes of her six children and she knew all mine.

"Oh, look," Monica smiled proudly, holding up a nice purple coat, "this one would be perfect for your 6-year-old girl. Does she like purple?"

"Purple and pink are her favorite colors," I answered. "How about this one for your 10-year-old boy? It's not even worn on the cuffs or in the armpits."

"He doesn't like zippers," she answered. "Let me know if you find one with snaps."

We searched, hunted and inspected coats for ourselves and each other until our arms ached. After about an hour, we each lined up our selections in one long line on an empty table and gave each other our final evaluations.

"I don't think your eight-year-old boy will wear that one," Monica commented. "It looks too much like a girl's coat."

"You're right," I said, putting it back on the rack. "What do you think of this one?"

"That's a nice one. I think he'll wear that one," she answered.

"If I were you, I'd take the blue one over the green one. It'll hide the dirt better," I said, pointing to a coat in her line-up. "That's for the one that likes to play football, right?"

"You're right," Monica answered. "I'm glad you thought of that."