Nerves. I am all nerves right now. Why? Well, my first real auction is this Saturday. Real as in it’s going to be an all-day sale and my name is on the sale bill. I am not the one in charge, but I will be helping sell and ring and whatever else needs to be done.
I’ve worked auctions many, many times before. But this one is different.
My dad won’t be there.
For over 30 years, I clerked and caught bids for my dad, Butch. That’s how I learned how to work an auction. I watched and listened to him. I saw how he interacted with bidders, joshing and joking. Saw how they responded to him. He knew what items were worth and where to start the bidding. I wish I could say I listened more to how he did what he did, but I didn’t. Now I’d give about anything to hear him one more time and try to catch his filler words and listen to his cadence.
And now it will be my turn. I will be the new auctioneer up there selling and working with folks and doing my best to sell anything that comes my way with integrity and to get the most I can for my friends who have put their trust in me to do a good job.
I’ve had exactly four chances so far to auction. Twice I’ve sold pies. Once I’ve sold quilts. And once I got to help sell a little of this and a little of that to help benefit a friend with cancer. But those were short-term events. This one starts at 9:30 and, from the length of the sale bill and the fact that the main auctioneer says he prefers to run one ring, I suspect it’s gonna be a long day. I’m doing all I can to stay healthy between now and then. I am drinking lots of water and tea and babying my throat between practicing as much as I can so I don’t lose my voice.
Though I’m not exactly terrified, I am a little nervous.
I will be going out to the community center, where the sale will be held, on Friday after school because there’s a sale preview. While I couldn’t be there for the set up and everything else because I’ve been working, I will be there on Friday night. I asked Dave, the auctioneer, when he would be there the day of the sale and he said between 6:30 and 7:00. Which means I’ll be there a little before 6:30. Right now I’m trying to figure out what to wear so I can look professional and still be comfortable and not too hot or too cold. It’s in Durant, so Durant will be there. No pressure.
This is an estate sale for a friend we always knew as Uncle Joey. He passed away last week at age 96, and when we walked into the funeral home, there was polka music playing. Durant was home for years to the Polka Fest. As Ed and I went through the line at the visitation, one of the women in the family smiled when she saw me and said, “We can’t wait to see you sell!” That made me feel really good to know that. I suppose I could let that make me nervous, but it doesn’t.
And I think getting up to sell in front of folks I know may just be a good thing. Besides, this is the town where my dad grew up. He went to school just across the street from the community center. And his ashes are buried on the east side of town. I think maybe, on my way to the sale on Saturday morning, I might just stop by and let Butch know what I’m doing. I think he’d probably like that.