Sunday, January 20, 2008

Farm auction

Blacksmith/metal artist John Amero invited me to join him at a Jerry Harris farm auction on Lewter Shop Road in Apex this past Saturday morning (stuff from the estate of a recently deceased farmer and also his brother who's in assisted living.) We thought there might be some bits and pieces (ie rusty metal junk) that could be melted together and incorporated into the melange that's eventually supposed to become a fine plough for Jethro.

I love auctioneers, outgoing flexible-tongued Type A types who can rattle away for hours in that special patter drone. This guy was really in a good humor despite the sleet and rain and he put on a wonderful show.

Despite the freezing awful weather there were tons of pickup trucks assembled already at 9 am on Lewter Shop Road when I arrived.

I bought a miscellaneous assortment of items none of which have given me buyers' remorse. Who can feel bad about giving shekels to an old farmer in his waning years in an assisted living center?

I couldn't stay till they sold the tools (I longed for a brace and auger just like the one my dad had) but my prizes included:
  • Two tiny stools for all the times I feel too short (unfortunately my $2.50 bid also got me five broken down lawn chairs which I had to sneakily leave behind);

  • Two bakelite bowls in those funny mixed colors like the ones my mother and I cooked with in the 60s and 70s;

  • About a mile of rough nylon twine, I'll be able to use it to repair my deerfence for decades to come;

  • A set of six Coca-Cola glasses for Hannah (and one for me). When she was little our one Coca-Cola glass was her absolute favorite, she always asked for it and we used it till the lettering rubbed off;

  • Eight miscellaneous suitcases, garment bags, and backpacks ($2.50, "one money," bought them all). I needed just two of them to store the inordinate number of cables and converters I've accumulated after years of jerry-rigging recording systems;

  • A lovely nesting set of about 15 metal mixing bowls from the big daddy bowl to the little bitty baby bowl, $12.00 for the lot. I can't defend this purchase. I'm just a sucker for bowls.

  • A hideously ugly and beat-up but sturdy and light shop stool, also $2.50.
I couldn't find pictures of the actual stuff I scored, but not to be outdone by Hannah's trip to Sotheby's, here are a few of the items other lucky people got. For instance, this decorative spark plug, which was about 30 inches high and went for almost $40.00 I think.

The auctioneer had box after box of miscellaneous stuff. If he couldn't sell a box for $2.50, he would add the next box. Thus, many of us ended up with way too many boxes of stuff, most of which we didn't want, because there was at least one thing worth the $2.50.

Jerry Harris is helping the world re-distribute undesirable objects.

I tried to get Amero to buy a splendid set of matching ceramic canisters decorated with poisonous-looking toadstools. There was even a matching salt-shaker! but the pepper shaker was missing. He could have had the lot for "one money," it went for $2.50.

Many fat men in camouflage outfits and women in padded coveralls were in attendance. There was a lot of smoking going on. Sausage biscuits were being sold by the gross.

An auction is fine entertainment if you can remember you'd be better off without any of this stuff at all, and in fact if it were yours you'd be trying to get rid of it.

When I came home it was still sleeting and I was freezing. Jethro was sulking in the snow. I led him into his shed with an apple and he stayed for about five minutes and then went back to stand under his favorite sulking tree with his ears back so they wouldn't get snow in them. I was so aggravated. He and I need family therapy.

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At 8:52 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

I love auctions , but I have to stay away as I have trouble controlling myself. My husband used to moonlight as a clerk for an auctioneer when our kids were little. At one auction, I got a big beautiful handpainted bedroom set for our daughter for $300.00 [more than he earned that day]--a doublebed, double dresser, mirror, 2 end tables and a stool. I also love silent auctions. Congrats on your purchases, Melinama.


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