I’m back at another country auction. Ten miles from the highway, a half mile down a gravel road.
I love them. I have learned not to wave at friends and neighbors. That’ll cost me money.
Today, they’re selling out another dead man’s treasures.
People don’t get rid of their junk. Then one day, they’re just too old to deal with it. Maybe they’re surprised to learn they can’t take that old stuff with them.
I’m sure he was.
They leave it for someone else to pack up and sell.
And, sure enough, someone will come out and buy his junk.
I’m part of the crowd with cash in hand.
Today, it’s old stuff. Dusty. Dirty. Spider webs and dirt dauber nests in the corners and cracks. Old. Antique. Rusted. Tarnished with age. Trashy stuff.
A lifetime packed away in cardboard boxes.
There’s a thousand piece jig saw puzzle. It’s a covered bridge in New England. The auctioneer says every piece is there.
Some plates, forks and spoons. Two of the plates are chipped. Then the pots and pans. Old coffee cups and jelly jar glasses. Iron skillets sell fast now days.
Next, an old plow, cold, brown, rusty steel, its point dulled over time. I bet it turned a lot of Mississippi dirt a hundred years ago. The mule and the owner, both gone for a generation or two.
Thirty feet of chain, hooks at both ends, it takes a half minute to find a buyer.
A Whitman’s Sampler box of sewing notions, patterns from the 1950’s, a quart fruit jar full of buttons, a half dozen wooden spools of thread. Someone’s going to take it home tonight. The old candy dish is for sale also.
The people, well, we all look about the same. I’m sitting on row ten, two seats from the aisle.
Next to me, a petite women, perfect lipstick, blue-gray hair, done up in a bun. I bet she has great grandchildren in the city somewhere. She bought the old dolls.
The over-weights. The men and the women. Too many French Fries with chili and cheese. Or maybe too many butterbeans, peas and cornbread. They drove up in their pickup trucks.
They hide their flaws in sweatshirts and sweat pants. The shirts and baseball caps tell us where they were last year or the year before, or how they love America and the South.
It’s cold, wet and nasty today. It’s rained here for the past two weeks.
No heat at the auction.
I see a lot of Carhartt jeans, jackets and caps. Enough camouflage to hide a battle ship. Slip-on work boots, covered in today’s mud. One man is wearing his bib overalls, his wife sits beside him. They’re buying stuff left and right. Another man has a leather jacket and flannel shirt. He’s buying all the tools. They’re old and rusty also.
The men follow one after another to go outside and smoke. Then they come back with a cup of coffee in hand.
It’s all there.
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