Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Back to the Prairie: Auction Day

   In the early morning hours chores are done extra quick today; there is an auction today. We pile into various vehicles to travel over a county; estate sales are a family favorite event. I wanted to ride in the big truck, however, I ended up stuck in the car squished between my great grandmother and my aunt. Stiff while seats are extremely uncomfortable and the constant warning not to 'mess them up' doesn't help.
   After a ride that seemed to never end, we arrive at a large metal building; a sea of cars fill the parking area. I can hardly wait to roam the isles of items, but the walk from the car is endless..grandmothers do not walk as fast as a little farm girl.
   Inside my heart races at the rows and rows of amazing things. On tip-toes I peak over table tops and into boxes to spy on treasures unknown. Dishes chipped and scratched from loving use; millions of warm meals they must have held. Nick-knack's that once graced the shelves in a house now empty; was this one a gift from a grandchild? Handed down from a parent? I try to envision how this home must have looked.
   A bit farther along tools are found in buckets and boxes. Did worn weathered hands hold this plow? Maybe the boot that pushed this shovel had a hole in it like my grandpa's. Screwdrivers make me other people use them to start trucks and tractors like we do?
   Furniture! Some simple and plain; some with fancy scroll work and jewel-toned cushions. I envision a living room filled with these things..I bet no kids got to play in this room! But the appliances are next. It is hard to enjoy washers and ovens unless they are really old and quirky looking; these are not.
   Now the fun begins as the auctioneer starts his calls and people banter back and forth over this and that's from tables and rows. The adults lean close to each other chatting over fair price and who out bid who. I struggle to see anything..grown ups are so tall.
   Standing near me a very tall woman catches my eye. Her shoes and dress are so plain; simple flats and a denim one piece dress. Her hair is shiny and soft; twirled on the back of her head like a big cinnamon roll. I love it! Draped over the top of her head, a pretty doily lacy and white. Trying to ask my grandmother about her gets me 'the look'- you know, they hush up look. Next to this beautiful lady is a set of children all lined up like ducks in a row..she's a mommy! Then and there I decide..I want to be her when I grow up. Hair down to there all twisted up on my head, long dresses and simple shoes..with a whole row of stair step babies.
   Back home that night all tucked in my bed, I don't remember if we bought anything or whether we bought lunch or had sandwiches from home. I'm not sure if we stayed to the end or left early to 'beat the traffic', but I remember her. I close my eyes and try to envision me standing there with my family; a plain and simple mother standing there with her family on just another auction day.