It is March 1. The car in which I am a passenger crunches into the snow-crusted driveway past the auction sign. Freeman S.’s Vernon is having a farm sale today.
Vernon directs us to unload my sound system into the shop. Vernon has an unusually preoccupied air about him, though there are not a huge amount of people around yet. I said not yet.
Vernon’s son, my friend Calvin, takes me through the shop building which is jammed with merchandise. He imparts instructions on how I should sell it and tells me not to dawdle while at it. He wants us finished by 1 this afternoon or 1:30 at the latest, which is when they want to sell their collection of Belgian draft horses, which is one of the big attractions today.
I locate some coffee and later a cinnamon roll. People are piling in. Vernon and Calvin want to council with the help at 8:30 in the stately house on the northwest corner of the cluster of buildings here. That leaves some time to inspect the auction items. A tent stretches south from the house toward the barn and contains harnesses, as well as some sporting goods. Nine loaded wagons rest beside it, containing a wide variety of merchandise. The field has rows of miscellaneous in addition to a few ranks of sleek farm equipment. Then there is my shop building, which contains dozens of tables laden with household items as well as primitives and old and new toys. Several rows of furniture occupy the other third of the shop and await the gavel.
Did I mention people are coming? A week ago Vernon’s neighbors chipped in with 13 additional skidloaders to clear snow for parking space in the field. Two long cables are stretched. Each will accommodate a double column of horses and buggies. These fill up. The entire fence line by the road fills with tied horses. Some of our people unhitch their steeds and tie them between the hitched horses at the cables, saving room. Vernon told me last week he is expecting to give out between 400 and 500 buyer numbers today. I was a bit skeptical. That would be a huge auction. The result: 634 people end up signing in to buy today.