Recently my wife and I experienced a slice of Americana with which we were not familiar - we attended an estate auction. My wife would like to find a Hoosier cabinet in good shape to give us more storage in our kitchen, and a friend told us about one to be sold at the estate auction we attended. The cabinet was in pretty rough condition, and at the prices that other things were going for, we did not stay until the larger pieces of furniture were auctioned off. But the people and the atmosphere were very interesting to us novices! In light of that, I'm sending some things related to auctions - the first items are humorous, and the last item is a more reflective piece about an auction.
A man went to a bird auction one day. While there, he placed a bid on an exotic parrot. He really wanted this bird, so he got caught up in the bidding. He kept on bidding, but kept getting outbid, so he bid higher and higher and higher. Finally, after he bid way more than he intended, he won the bid - the fine bird was finally his!
As he was paying for the parrot, he said to the auctioneer, "I sure hope this parrot can talk. I would hate to have paid this much for it, only to find out that he can't talk!"
"Oh, do not worry," said the auctioneer. "He can talk. Who do you think kept bidding against you?"
A battered old television set was put up for sale at an auction. Although the auctioneer insinuated that he didn't think it would ever work, a man bid it up to $20. The man gave his bidder number as 45. Later, a woman bought an article and announced her bidder number as 45. Wanting to verify the number, the auctioneer asked if the man who bought the TV was her husband. "I claimed him as my husband," she snapped, "before he bought that television set."
Auction: A popular social gathering where you change a horse from a financial liability into a liquid asset.
Auctioneer: A person who looks forbidding.
Two idiots bought a bunch of horses at an auction, paying $100 apiece for the whole lot of them. Then they drove to another auction and sold all their horses for the same price they had initially paid for them. After counting their money, they realized that they ended up with the same amount of money that they had started out with initially. "See!" said one, "I told you we should have bought more horses!"
Bidding at a local auction was proceeding furiously, when the auctioneer received a note from an assistant, "A gentleman in this room has lost a wallet containing $10,000. If it is returned, he will pay a reward of $2,000." There was a moment's silence, and then from the back of the room came a cry, "Two Thousand Five Hundred!"
At an auction a man bought, for what he thought a reasonable price, both a Stradivarius and a Rembrandt. He was very happy with them, since the price he paid was so low, for objects made by very famous people. He decided to go to an appraiser and have them officially valued. The appraiser said, "Well sir, indeed it's a Stradivarius and a Rembrandt, but it's a shame Stradivarius couldn't paint and Rembrandt couldn't build violins."
Finally an old favorite - a poem about an auction...
The Old Violin - Myra Brooks Welch
'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar. Then two! Only two?
Two dollars, and who'll make it three?"
"Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three..." But no,
From the room, far back, a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice,
And going and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand.
What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply:
"The touch of the Master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
Much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine,
A game - and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.
The membership of the ivman list has passed the 1700 mark this past week. That's a growth of 100 new subscribers in the last two months! I'm truly amazed!
My wife and I attended the funeral service for Dr. Fremont last Tuesday evening and were blessed and encouraged as his son, grandson, and son-in-law eulogized him. As we had suspected, at home he was exactly what we all saw in public. I remember fondly his giving us "general prin-ci-PLLLes" (my attempt in writing to simulate his pronunciation of the word) in his classes. Some of those principles were alluded to that night as an integral part of his daily way of life. Dr. Fremont lived what he taught. It's sad that recent generations of college students have not been able to sit under his teaching. This was evident by those in attendance at the funeral - the average age of those in attendance must have been between 55 and 60. I've copied Dr. Fremont's obituary from the Greenville News and put it on my website at http://ivman.com/drfremont.html  for those of you who would like to read it.
"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." - Winston Churchill
One sure way you can tell that you're getting older is if you go to an antique auction and three people bid on you!