Saturday, September 19, 2009

Auction folk.

Since I'm not very good at liking football, I traded my ticket to yesterday's game for a trip to rural Missouri. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the Tigers and I'd do almost anything to hear the Missouri Waltz, but I don't love:
-Waiting in an enormous mob of people to enter the gates to the stadium, or
-Standing for 3 hours because my seats are in the student section and that's how the student section works.

I'd much rather be with Grammy at an estate auction in Gerald, MO. I mean, what's better than dirt roads, roast beef sandwiches and priceless treasures for as far as the eye can see? Nothing. When Mom, Dad, Rachel and I pulled up, we parked and started the long trek toward the sounds of the auctioneers. I've always known that auctions were pretty intense in rural Missouri, but I guess I momentarily forgot until we literally had to park a half-mile away. No, that's not really that far, but when you compare the number of people in the area to the number of cars at the auction and then add in the fact that we usually get front-row parking everywhere we've ever gone, then half of a mile is actually quite a hike. It's all in the way you look at it.

Anyway, yesterday was the auction of a sweet lady named Clara who used to make all the quilt-tops for the quilters at Grammy's church. Thus, this was a big day for all the quilters in the area because Clara had trailer-loads of fabric in all shapes and sizes. There were trash bags filled with random scraps of fabric and people were paying upwards of $60 for them! That's where we found Grammy. By the trailer-o-scraps, directly in front of the auctioneer and let me tell you what, she had her auction face on and she meant business. Rachel and I were going to stand by her, so we kept trying to get her attention, but she was SO into the sale that she didn't see us signaling to her. In her defense, however, we couldn't signal too boisterously because if you wave your hand or make any quick movemen
ts, the auctioneers think your bidding on something, and we all know I have nothing to do with a trash bag of fabric. One time, at the Thanksgiving Dinner quilt auction at Grammy and Papa's church, I was just sitting there talking with my friends and I started playing with my hair and they thought that I was bidding. Luckily, someone else really wanted that quilted pillow or I would be up one pillow and down $40.

Anyway, Grammy finally saw us and after she organized the sale items in the truck bed, we went to grab some lunch at the food stand. As a side note, Grammy always organizes things around her. No, she doesn't work for the auctioneering company, but she still likes to make sure all the bags are lined up, the quilts are folded correctly, and the cups are categorized. Ok, back to lunch. Everyone who knows of my eating habits (and my tend
ency to avoid most meats and everything with a questionable texture) will be shocked to hear what I had, and enjoyed, for lunch. It was a roast beef sandwich! I know. This is a big step for me. I don't know how they did it, but they:
1) Turned the potentially tough and fatty roast beef into a texture that resembled tuna from a can. Think roast beef meets blender, and though that sounds disgusting, it eliminates the chance one might have to bite into a chunk of chewy fat particl
2) Provided wonderful condiments to accompany the roast beef: onions, pickles and ketchup, all three of which are close to my heart. Though I must say, ketchup is closer than the others. I could eat, and do eat, ketchup on almost anything. Honestly, I thought everyone ate as much ketchup as I do, but apparently most people only eat ketchup with their burgers and their fries, making me the "weird one" for putting ketchup on my turkey sandwiches, grilled cheese, fish, chicken, baked potatoes, chips, vegetables, and bread, to name a few.

In conclusion, this sandwich changed my life. When we finished eating, we headed back toward the auction. Actually, we hadn't really finished eating, but Grammy heard them start auctioning some quilt tops that she really wanted, so she frantically handed me her water and her previous purchases and ran back toward the mounds of fabric. Unfortunately, she didn't get the quilt top she wanted, but she did get two baby quilts that she is apparently saving for when one of her grandchildren has a baby. I vote Andy goes first because he's the oldest.

Another thing I love about auctions is that being at an auction automatically makes you friends with everyone there. If you're standing near the auction ta
ble looking at something, people will just come up and talk to you about it, oftentimes telling you it's entire history. Lots of auction-goers bring these auction books where they look up all the items for sale to determine their value, thus, allowing them to find wonderful treasures in the form of tiny glass figurines, creepy 80 year-old dolls, and colored glass butter dishes (figure 3).
Figure 3. Glass snail, found at auctions. Every bookshelf needs one and it may be worth millions.

It's like we're in a secret Auction-Folk Club that only auction-goers know about and you automatically become a member when you step foot on the premises. And it's awesome because, once again, I like it when people come up and talk to me. I also like when people wave at me when they're driving; It makes me feel like the local I wish I were. However, I recently realized that not everyone waves to drivers like I do. I mean, living in rural Missouri for a year brainwashed me into automatically waving at passers-by, but that is not how things go down in Columbia, MO. The other day I was walking downtown with my friend, Urme, and this car drove by and honked at us. Well, actually, she honked at Urme because she knew Urme, but the second I heard that honk, I just started waving. Why do I do that?! It's like Pavlov and his dog. I have been classically conditioned to start frantically waving the instant I hear a car horn or make eye-contact with a driver, which, once again, classifies me as the "weird one." Oh well. There was this little girl at the auction that had long blonde pigtails, round glasses and a shirt that said: "It's more fun to be the weird one" and I must say, I agree.

After the auction, we headed back to Owensville to see Papa, who, when I asked him why he wasn't at the auction, pretended that he lost track of time and "accidentally" missed it. I know the truth: he's not a fan of auctions. For dinner we went to Kline's in Rosebud, MO and enjoyed the personalized catfish special, which means that instead of ordering what was on the board (fried catfish with fries, cole slaw and hushpuppies) we ordered grilled catfish with a baked potato, green beans and a roll. You know you're in a small town when you can completely change the special and no one cares.


  1. Just wondering.. do you smile at auctions? Is that why people come up and talk to you?

    I have to say that my feelings are totally hurt that you gave up our breakfast tailgate for an auction. You can always sit with us in the old people section of the stadium. Ashley is there too and we sit for most of the game.