Sunday, April 19, 2009


In my constant pursuit to try new things, I decided to go to an auction yesterday. We arrived to find a little stone house surrounded by boxes of stuff under tents and the sound of an auctioneer uttering nearly unintelligible monetary amounts at a staggering pace (the kids found that last part particularly funny). As I wondered around the hay wagons covered with open boxes of personal belongings, I was struck by sadness that this is what had become of a life. This particular couple had apparently lived in this home for many years, raised children, welcomed grandchildren (and maybe even great-grandchildren) and judging by the amount and types of belongings for sale, they had very active lives. There were tools and woodworking devices of every sort. The mister had obviously been a talented wood craftsman evidenced by the beautiful rocking chairs, bed frames and a lovely quilt rack he'd made for his wife. The missus had 3 sewing machines, which assumably meant she'd done a fair amount of sewing in her day; though there were no quilts or fabric in sight. I'm hoping that means someone in the family valued her handywork enough to not sell them.

How much busy work there must have been at this house not so long ago. But now everything they held dear, or simply used from day to day, was being sold to the highest bidder. I thought for a moment that I might just leave. But I didn't. It occurred to me that this sale had become inevitable for the family and very likely necessary to settle debts or medical bills. Maybe, I thought, this little couple was in a nursing home and needed this money to help pay for their care. In any event, I decided to be part of the auction. I wanted to take something away from this that would serve as a reminder to me that I need to value this time, this day for the priceless gift that it is. A reminder that our stuff is just stuff and when we leave here, it will remain. Choose wisely, I thought. And then I saw it - a framed piece of fabric art, colorful and vibrant, native in appearance. It looked old but I wasn't sure how old. I was all anxious about bidding - the auctioneer read me like a book! But oddly no one bid against me. There had been a crazy amount of back and forth for all the other items but not this one. It seemed destined to go home with me. And indeed it did.

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