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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



One warm afternoon. That doesn’t seem to be too much to ask of Mother Nature this time of year, and fortunately it came this past weekend. I hadn’t been to an auction in a really long time, but was drawn to this one, mostly because it was filled with memories of growing up in a small town and of Mrs. Sellers who taught me about music, how to poke at the piano and how to carry that enjoyment into my adulthood.

Partly out of curiosity, partly because I wanted something to remind me of that time, I went. It was a small crowd that filtered through a yard filled with items collected over a lifetime. Tools, and trinkets, furniture and those fun “surprise” boxed of items were all there. I’d looked over a few things before hand and made mental notes of what I would pay, got my number and chatted with old friends as I stood waiting for the sale to start.

And then it began…that old itch I get every time there is an auction. The chant of the auctioneer, the fast pace of the bidding, the excitement…oh wait..huh? I just bought a cut glass pitcher and six tumblers?

Back and forth, the slow pause one makes thinking if you really want to pay another two dollars for that salt and pepper set in the shape of windmill…oh…um…I just bought a set of blankets and two feather pillows?.... Watching as the ring men look around the hayrack for the next item up…is it the one thing I’ve been standing here waiting to bid…oh wait… I just bought a wooden box with a hand blown glass ball in it? Awesome…time to make a trip to the car…oh yeah..I’ll start the bidding on that thing-a-ma-jig whatever it may be..sure I’ll bid again…and again…and a……three dollars is my final price…that lady across the way obviously wants it more than I do.

The hayrack is empty…I’ve collected a few musical instruments, bongos that we all played on when we were in her class in elementary school, some recorders, her antique metronome. All things I will cherish or pass on to my own kids. Down a row of furniture…everything a little more than I wanted to spend…they are selling the house now.

I have many memories of that house, the back room which held two pianos, a couch to wait patiently on for your lesson time, the coat rack that stood by the door. It was here that I learned about hand position, about sharps and flats and scales, met Kate Hopp, learned about what music could mean and how important it was, and I remember the kitties…The beautiful grey long haired cats that would sometimes pay you no attention at all, and other times would curl up under your feet and make it even harder to push on the foot pedals. The knotty pine room was really my first lesson in breaking out of the small world I was accustomed too. Sometimes, on rare occasions I would get to venture into the kitchen, mostly when it was cold and I would wait for a ride home, and I enjoyed sitting at the table and watching the birds that always gathered around the many …oh…did I just buy three flats of canning jars…canning jars?...and a box of music??.... bird feeders in the yard. And on even rarer occasions I’d peer into the living room where “Slim” would be kicked back in his chair watching television and he’d say hello.

The auctioneers started to work quickly as the crowd was growing restless and we moved back to the back corner of the yard where her Strawberry patch once stood, sheltered between the grape vines and the lilac bushes, each box not much more than a dollar, with many things left to go, and wishing that I had the room for things that couldn’t sell…Oh! A table? Perfect for what I need…how much to bid…$50? $60? Be patient…start low…$20… no one else is bidding…do I have room for it in the truck and how am I going to get in unloaded once I get home….wondering who more worthy than I to be the keeper of such treasures. But alas, my day was coming to a close and with it the time spent in that place remembering the days of old. I’m sure that this place will always be in my memories just how I pictured it back then, even after the years have passed and the people and places that formed my life have begun to fade away and the never ending tide of change passes over them.

After a few trips to the truck with my goodies, including a few things I really did need, and one last look around that old house, I slowly loaded myself in the truck and looked back one more time…seeing that small boy with his back pack bounding up the back sidewalk, and into the door for my weekly 30 minute dose of appreciation for the piano…remembering those days fondly and the memory of my childhood and the gentle soft spoken lady who made it all possible.

See you next week. Remember, we’re all in this together.