Around my neck of the woods, an auction can cause talk for weeks before and after its occurrence. Weeks before the event, homemade signs for the event will go up and everybody starts looking. Starting times are memorized and those with intentions to attend the event decide where they will park. People call each other asking if they are going to the auction. Even after the auction, people will call each other and ask each other what they thought of the auction. I’ve heard it all from “I thought it lasted a long time” to “Her nick-nacks didn’t go for as much as I expected,” and even “Don’t make any sudden movements or the auctioneer will think you’re bidding.” Sound advice, as my family does not need to accidentally bid on a 1924 Farmall tractor.
However, I have come to the conclusion that auctions are social events as much as they are retail events. As a result, auctions and the talk surrounding them are one of my favorite simple things. Last Saturday, there was an auction in my hometown. I did not go, but the males in my family put on jackets and toboggans (in May!), and trudged out in the rain to watch farm equipment go to the highest bidder. At church the next morning, everybody (so it seemed) was talking about the auction in the form of : Who bought what, who didn’t buy what, why who didn’t buy what, what should have been bought but wasn’t bought because the bids ran too high, and hot dogs.
Yes, auction talk is a sort of microscope into the culture that many of us in rural America experience on a daily basis. To those living on the outskirts of this society, it’s a way of life that takes a special mind to understand. Life revolves around social events such as auctions, church revivals, and community pot lucks. However, it’s the talk, more specifically, the auction talk, that makes auctions one of my favorite (simple) things.