Category Archives: auctioneering

Now It’s My Turn

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.



Where is Spring?

Not really worth asking, says me. Unfortunately. Yesterday morning I was shocked to find it only 41 degrees on my porch. Granted, it’s not heated by the furnace, but usually my little space heater keeps it around 50 or so. Then I checked the weather on my phone to learn it was 5 degrees outside. Five! Yikes.

And then I made the mistake of looking at the forecast for the next seven days. I made the same mistake this morning. I guess we can say “Good bye” to the possibility of peaches this year, as the potential buds have probably been nipped in the. Sigh. I’ll just have to linger over the memory of how delicious they tasted last year.

Maybe I ought to start looking at garden catalogs and doing a little garden planning. While the weather continues its chokehold, I really need something hopeful. Garden planning is that thing.

But it’s also quilt season. With six baby quilts in the planning stages, I suppose this cold weather, keeping me inside as it is, will give me the time I need to finish all those quilts. I have one top done and a second ready to stitch. I really do need to use this week to finish those. Just as long as no one else gets pregnant. I understand they know what causes that now.

And then there are books. I’ve found a new British mystery series that I am diving into, although it’s not as enjoyable as Flavia DeLuce. I picked up the Agatha Raisin books from another blog I read, Posie Gets Cosy, and I must agree with Alicia, the tv series is a little better than the books. It’s not exactly a “traditional” British mystery series, at least not the kind I prefer to read. But it’s still something to keep my brain at least somewhat occupied during these cabin fever days.

I’m also practicing my auctioning. On Saturday I auctioned off 22 pies for the Masonic Center. My dad used to do this auction, so this year I stepped in. Not sure I’ll do it every year, but it was good experience and everyone seemed to have a good time, which is a big part of it. I enjoy joking with the crowd and encouraging bids. Ed did a great job, too, as the “Parader of Pies”. At one point during a big battle for a custard pie, which eventually went for $200, Ed swayed one bidder by saying, “The eggs came from virgin chickens.” Boy did that raise a cackle or two!

I also met with another auctioneer who I will be helping with a sale, my first big gig. I will be pretty much a “hired gun” as the gentleman I’ll be working with is the one who set up the sale and has done all the background work (advertising, toting and hauling, setting up). I feel fortunate to be able to work this sale because it will really give me some good experience. The sale is for the estate of the uncle of a good friend, and said good friend wanted me to be able to be part of the sale. I appreciate that trust so much. I am practicing as much as I can in the next two weeks as I drive to and from school so that I can be truly ready (and maybe not lose my voice in the process). I think I’ll also talk to my friend the voice teacher for a couple tips so I can have a stronger set of pipes.

And lastly, there is the working out. I have been getting up between 4:00 and 4:30 every morning the past couple weeks. I usually am on the treadmill to get a mile or two in before school, but this morning that just wasn’t possible. I was so tired I just couldn’t do it. So, instead, here I am providing entertainment and getting in my weekly post. That’s important, too, though. Part of the resolution goals for the year. I’ll probably get my run in later today, though I am also lifting weights. With no meetings or parent teacher conferences, I can start getting back to a more regular workout schedule. And with my half-marathon training starting in two weeks, I need that.

So, even though I cannot yet see spring on the horizon, I must trust that it will be here soon. And I am eager to get outside and get to work, be it running or working in the yard. Just keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t take too much longer.


You Can Call Me Colonel

Well, actually, I prefer you don’t. But I did earn that title last week at the World Wide College of Auctioneering. (WWCA) I am now an auctioneer!


So, after last year being a year of loss (an uncle, and aunt, my dad, my dog), this year is turning into a year of firsts and a year of new things. At age 52, I feel like I am finally getting my sea legs (I know – in the middle of land-locked Iowa?).

As you may recall from a previous post, I signed up for classes at WWCA on my dad’s birthday in January. From then until the middle of June, I practiced tongue twisters and number scales all the time. When I started, I practiced a little too much and nearly lost my voice (I thought in teaching 7th graders I talked a lot – I didn’t know the half of it).

Orientation started on a Saturday at noon. Our guide through this journey, Mr. Paul C. Behr, had a phrase we would hear often: “Get ’emĀ  up, get ’em up, get ’em up.” This was the directive to our instructors, meaning to get us students up and practicing as much and as often as possible. Daunting? You bet. Paul said we would be pushed out of our comfort zones. Yes, yes and yes! But get up we did. All 71 of us. There were a few seasoned students in the crowd, and even a few who had already been auctioneering for a while, as well as a two-time Junior Champion! If you don’t think that’s more than a little intimidating, think again.

But the other thing I learned at WWCA was how supportive they are. One-on-one instruction also means one-on-one support. Add to that the support you get from the other students who become dear friends by the time the ordeal is over and you’ve got a brand new, really big, family. We are staying connected via Facebook mostly, and it’s so amazing to see where everyone is going and how excited and passionate we all are.

The big job now is to go out into the world and do something with what we’ve learned. Without the instructors here with us, now we have to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. My dear friend, Emma Jay, has already gotten to work an auction (her brother’s an auctioneer, so that helps), and she was great! I love being able to see videos of my friends (like my two new sisters, Emma Jay and Kylee) and grin from ear-to-ear with pride.

Maybe the most important things I learned at WWCA are the important life lessons: stay positive, be a person of integrity, take care of your business, and know that you can do anything if you set your mind to it. Oh, and have fun and practice, practice, practice!

I never thought I could do this, but now I know I was wrong. I can do this and I will continue to do this. Because I am strong, and because it’s so much fun! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some tongue twisters and number scales to run through before some bid calling practice.


P.S. Did I also mention that I am also a certified bilingual auctioneer? Si amigos y amigas!

bilingual diploma