We walk in through the far-right door for guests; my anticipation is palpable.
WHAT WILL WE FIND TODAY?
WHAT WILL WE BE ABLE TO WIN AND BRING HOME THIS AFTERNOON?
While Dad checks in and picks up our bidder numbers, I case out the nearest booths. See the distressed teal trunk? Yep. I did, too. It goes on my mental watch list as the crowds meander through the rows of furniture, antiques, and collectibles.
At 9:00, the opening bell (hanging from the building's center) rings and before it even stops, a gaggle of auctioneers (each working a section) begin brokering deals. We stop at the booth below to preview the salvaged windows that will come up for sale. I notice the retired road signs behind the auctioneer -- they also join my watch list. For a couple of littles I know....
I also notice a wooden bell-shaped object at the booth next door.
My adrenaline rushes because the auctioneer and clerk are almost ready to sell it. The current owner shows it off, adds a disclaimer to honor the sizeable crack on the reverse. The auctioneer throws out a price. I wait for it to dip lower. No one bites. It dips lower still. $10. I raise my hand half-way, even though inside, my stomach jumps into my heart. "10. 10. Who'll give me 12-and-a-half?"
No one else counters. She points to me after what felt like more-than-sufficient wait time. "Sold. $10."
I smile. "Thank you."
I always wonder what I am missing if I'm the only bidder... This time, however, I cradle the roughed-up item in my arms and celebrate the uncontested deal. After all, that is the land and milk and honey for an auction-goer.
Minutes pass and it is almost as if the steady cadence of the auctioneers' din takes a backseat to the mental balancing of my wish list. I make it back in time to bid on the swivel old-school desk chair that reminds me of its Pottery Barn replica. It's built like a brick house. I jump in, place a couple bids. "27.50. 27.50. Who'll give me $30?"
No once else counters. She points to me with more speed this time. "Sold. $27.50."
I smile again. "Thank you."
Once overflowing booths empty. Winnings move toward the building's perimeter as bidders prepare to check out and pack up.
We end up on top for a few other items -- like a grey chair to paint for the smaller little's new big boy room, a repurposed book 'tool box', a crate for my friend, and a rectangular side table (still with the original tags) made in my hometown by furniture manufacturer Dunbar many years ago.
We walk back out through the far-right door for guests. Dad backs up the truck. With satisfaction, we wrap, bundle, load, and bungee the pieces into the back before jumping into the front to recount the day's details on the way home.
We talk about the next trip and what we might find then...