A traditional activity of Pennsylvania farmers is attending farm sales in the spring. It is a place to gather and exchange pleasantries with other community members, pick up a few deals, and buy some lunch from the food stand.
This spring, after more than forty years of farming, my dad decided he was going to rent out his fields and that he would sell his equipment. Another man had some small items to sell, so an auction was planned.
I hadn’t been to an auction for years, and it was a new experience for our kids. At nine o’clock in the morning, the auctioneer began selling small items off the back of the wagons. A sampling of items included tool boxes, tools, a vintage egg basket, a potato planter, a sump pump, shovels, chicken feeders, and even a “training stick” from the 1940s (AKA Board of Discipline).
The call of the auctioneer has a draw that holds the attention. From time to time, he would throw in some casual banter to lighten the moment.
Our oldest got to be a runner and hold up items for the crowd to see.
After scanning the crowd, I quickly realized this was predominantly a men’s event: men of all ages, various professions and church affiliations.
The intermittent rain did not seem to put a damper on the attendance. Some put up umbrellas, and others just stood in the gently falling showers.
After selling the small items and garden tools, the auction moved onto the farm equipment including tractors and implements.
Throughout the auction, the food stand was open where one could purchase typical Pennsylvania sale food including chicken corn or ham and bean soup, sloppy Joes (hamburger with BBQ sauce on a potato roll), hot dogs topped with sauerkraut or BBQ, whoopie pies, and various kinds of pie by the slice. Pie is my dessert of choice, and there were lots to choose from: shoo fly, apple, pumpkin, cherry, red raspberry, lemon meringue, blueberry, and more.
At the end of the day, some items went high and some went low. As my dad said, it all came out in the end. I was glad to have experienced a bit of my Pennsylvania roots.