I went to a country auction last week.
One man’s junk is another’s treasure. Live and in color.
It’s twenty miles from here. It doesn’t matter where. They are all the same.
There’s a rule somewhere, you just have to drive twenty miles to get to an auction. Then, drive on some gravel and park in the grass.
The auctioneer is there. He sits up above the crowd. He thinks he a comedian. He wears a hat, a microphone in his hand. He’s singing the same song, over and over, except when he stops to say “Sold.” Then he takes a deep breath and starts his chant again.
The barkers, out in front, catching the bids as they fly by. Barking “Yeah” every time they catch a nod, a wave or an OK.
The sellers too. The ones who boxed up and hauled the junk they’re selling. Trying to make a fortune. Junk.
It’s early and they still have that tired look in their eyes.
This is a big auction, held weekly in an old gymnasium.
There’s maybe a hundred and fifty people sitting out front. It’s a good crowd. The big fans are running full on, making cool air. Most are retired, or they want to be. You can tell by the hats they wear. Hardly anyone under forty. The younger people don’t like this sort of stuff.
Over on the left is a kitchen. A white-haired Grandma is making chili dogs, nacho cheese and chips. She sells soft drinks and coffee. Some nights, they have banana splits with real ice cream. Not tonight.
There’s ten or twelve tables piled high with stuff. No need to try to describe what all was there. It’s never the same.
It’s all going home with the highest bidder.
Again, what is one man’s junk is another’s treasure. Maybe more junk than treasure.
The auctioneer is chanting. He’s begging for money. He starts every bid, asking for four or five times what the item is worth. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’s cheaper to go to down to Wal-mart. Just pay what the sticker says and be done with it.
I don’t like to do that. I like a good old auction.
I like to see the people who drive in and park their pickup trucks. They’re looking for a bargain. No, maybe they’re just looking for some cheap entertainment.
I sit there, looking, asking myself dumb questions.
“What in the world is she going to do with that?”
“They gave that away. That’s a steal.”
“Way too much for that piece of junk.”
“That’ll never sell….Wow, never thought it would go for that kind of money.”
Every time something is sold, here’s what happens. The buyer thinks he got a good deal. The rest of the crowd says he’s the only one foolish enough to spend that much money on a piece of junk someone is selling. And, the auctioneer says he gave it away.
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