HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
December 11, 2006, Herald Journal

Auction withdrawal


It’s been quite some time since I’ve been to an auction. I’ve started to experience auction withdrawal, and have been for the last few months.

There’s something very appealing about auctions. You never know what you’ll find, or what the price will be when it sells to the highest bidder.

Some auctions really get area people talking. Farm equipment auctions start a chain of phone calls to those who may be in the market for certain big items, or for reinforcements.

Most people like to pair up with at least one other person upon attending an auction. There’s comfort in numbers, and it’s good to have another opinion of the item and its value.

People in different parts of the state will argue that the event is called an auction sale.

To me, it doesn’t sound right to hear someone say, “I’m going to an auction sale tomorrow.” I think it’s better to just call it an auction.

People at auctions usually run into friends and neighbors, and get a chance to catch up on things.

Auctions I’ve attended are usually outside, which is a nice switch. Come to think of it, most kinds of sales that are held outside are well attended, such as flee markets, garage sales, sidewalk sales, and the like.

Estate auctions and property auctions are always bittersweet to me, especially if it’s a widower or an older person that can no longer care for their house and property.

I think about the life the sellers lived on that property, especially farms. I think about the children who were raised there, the hard work, and the love that was experienced on that piece of ground.

Last fall, I was at a farm auction south of Howard Lake. The property was for sale as well as the farm equipment and household items. There was an open house offered to those interested in buying the house.

Most people who toured the house were probably not really interested in the house, but were more nosy than anything.

I would kind of fit into that category. I wasn’t nosy, but I have a love for old farmhouses, and will take every chance I get to soak in the character of these dying structures; the same goes for barns.

When I walked in the front door, there was an older lady sitting in the kitchen. She was the owner, and she looked so lonely as perfect strangers toured her home.

I decided to make conversation with her, and we talked for at least an half an hour. I heard all about her life in that house, and about her husband of 60 years who had passed away just that winter.

She was born in that house. She moved out for only a few years after she graduated from high school. When she married her husband, her parents sold the farm to her and her new husband, and they had lived there ever since.

She had tears in her eyes a couple of times when she spoke of the life she shared with her husband. She even showed me his picture.

They had six children they raised on their dairy farm. She could no longer take care of such a large property so she was moving to town.

I can’t imagine how hard it would be to watch strangers peruse your house you’ve been in for decades, and then to hear the auctioneer selling it.

I think everyone entering someone’s house, especially in those instances where it’s an auction, should take at least a moment to acknowledge the owner, and respect the life they experienced there.


After dinner, my husband said, “I’m full as a tick.” Joe thought about this for a minute, and said, “You’re full as a clock?”

(Get it, tick, tock – clock).