Seeing Estate Auctions In a New Light


Andrew Weidmancalling the bid II

When I was a kid I used to like going to estate auctions with my dad. They provided an excuse to explore new places, discover strange new treasures (at least, new to me), and maybe meet some new kids and strike up a conversation. Sure, the day could get long and the auction boring, especially if Dad struck up a conversation with someone he hadn’t seen in a few years. That happened just about every time we went, whether it was an estate, consignment, produce, or livestock auction.

I swear Dad always knew someone, and like most farmers he seemed to crave trading stories. That probably comes from spending long hours in the field with not much more than the roar of the tractor for company. Even if you have actual company with you, conversation is nearly impossible over a high-throttled diesel’s thunder. And boy, did Dad have the stories: that time a hog escaped the truck while crossing town; the hay-wagon incident when I lost the back third of a load of bales, thanks to a ill-placed groundhog hole; to his days testing milk as a young man ...

crowd scene

You never knew what you’d find at an auction. Once we brought home a Quonset hut, balanced on a flatbed hay wagon (thank the Lord that didn’t upset). Another time, the trove was a set of five hog-farrowing crates. I remember seeing old pickup trucks, hay knives, glass power-line insulators, glass chemical-fire extinguisher bombs, and foot-powered whetstone wheels. I think a lot of my appreciation for Pennsylvania Dutch heritage came from asking about the stuff on the docket at auctions.

butter churn

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