Friday, June 25, 2010

Tale of Two Grandpas

I decided to attend an area auction recently while Husbola was busy doing something else. Actually he was out of town--and while auctions are much more fun as a couple--if I find one close by--I am game to go alone. The auction was about an hour and fifteen minutes away--and one of those in a little bitty Western Illinois town. The auction ad described 11 wagons loads full of the possession of a woman who lived in a house for her whole life. You betcha!

So I needed a cup of coffee for the ride--and decided to stop at my local Panera. While waiting for my toasted bagel I observed a grandpa and grand daughter sitting at a table nearby. Now it was EARLY in the morning. Grandpa was yapping on a cell phone--and Grand Daughter was tip tapping in a little handheld do-dad with a screen. Now the little girl might have been six years old. They were sitting at a table--not talking-not eating-not interacting. It was probably 6:15am. I don't know--this just made me feel sad.

Fast forward to the auction. The auction proved to be as advertised--11 wagons of the oddest assortment of treasures--however--most covered in grime. This can be a real gold mine for a buyer--as the casual auction attender has no interest in dirty dusty items--but the hard core of us dealers do not let a little dirt hold you back. A little hosing off, washing up, laundering--usually uncovers a goodie. But I digress.

What caught my attention was yet another grandpa and grand daughter. This little girl was probably 10 years old--a real cutie patootie with her one arm covered in those squiggy little colorful plastic bracelets that girls are wearing these days. She would be positioned on one side of a wagon and grandpa across from her. Grandpa would pick up an item--and the girl was totally engaged--"Grandpa what is that?" "How did they use that?" "What do you think that will go for?" "Wouldn't that be neat to have?" The auction ringman then held up the next item to be auctioned--a rather flashy creamer and sugar set on a tray--with cream china and a very bright shiny gold trim--eye catching and quite garish. The little girls' eyes just about popped out of her head--"GRANDPA LOOK AT THAT--IT IS B-E-A-U-T-F-U-L!," she exclaimed.

The next item that Grandpa held up to inspect was an old carpet covered foot warmer. It was one of those rectangular metal things--covered in thick old carpet--with a little door in the side. These were filled with hots coals and put in cars before they had heaters. You put it on the floor and put your feet on it to stay toasty. Well--the Grandpa was older than me--and he did not know what it was. The Grand Daughter hadn't a clue. But her eyes were riveted on it. "Grandpa--what IS that thing?" "What do you DO with something like that?" I knew what it was was--but I did not feel compelled to interject and educate them. They were having great fun together--and I felt I would be intruding.

The Happy Duo stayed at the auction all morning. I lost track of them in the crowd several times. Once I observe Grandpa going through boxes of books--and he was wearing those tight plastic medical gloves. The books were grubby--and while I have never worn gloves to sort through anything at an auction--it sure struck me as a good idea at this one. Later in the day--our Young Auction Attender was observed snuffling through a box of widjets and SHE had on a pair of those gloves--quite floppy on her smaller hands. This just made me smile.

The contrast of how each grand daughter/grandpa duo was spending their morning was marked. The second couple certainly reminded me of various auction experiences with my grandmother in the late 1960s. A few stories will be fodder for a future post.

Sad Farewell Beautiful Lady of Paris

Adieu Belle Dame.... View from the beautiful blooming park behind the cathedral.