Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Theory of 50 at the Auction

 I had to reach up high to the top shelf to capture these old cans. I didn't have much time to take the photo nor get a picture of all the items that caught my eye. When working for my family's auction service, I come in contact with many fascinating artifacts and people.

This was my first auction since I've begun blogging. I thought about taking photos for the blog, and then I decided I could take pictures of everything I wanted to purchase, and if I didn't manage to "win" the prize, I would have the picture, and not have to lug the stuff home.

The auctioneer was moving swifting from one item to the next. The crowd was tuned in to his sing song rhythm and even, monotonous tone. A woman had found a stool to sit on in the crowded plumbing and electrical shop. On her lap, sat a small girl, fast asleep, with her head laid back on her mother's arm. The auctioneer and the crowd continued to move in a steady, determined direction to the end of each shelf.

At one point, I had the opportunity to speak with the widow of the business. Her husband had passed away a few years ago. You could tell that she still longed for him, and spoke as if he maybe were not gone forever, but had just stepped away for a bit. She expressed her reluctance in giving up the business and selling their mutual property. Holding on to the property as a way of keeping him or the hope that it was a bad dream and he would return one day.

I could tell she wasn't convinced that she was doing the right thing. Maybe others had convinced her it was time to let go and move on. I went on to share with her that I had lost my youngest son several years ago in the prime of his life. I too, knew how difficult it was to let go of some of the physical things that were a part of my son. I knew her pain of parting and loss.

Then it came back to me, what my mother said about getting older. I shared it with her, and then later, overheard her telling a friend that had come to sit with her during the auction.

The first fifty years of our lives are centered on gain. We strive to acquire material possessions and  seek to create personal relationships. The next fifty years, on loss, as our friends begin to pass away in undeniable numbers, and we must face our own mortality.


  1. I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your son. This post is so touching, and it hit me where it counts. I am 42 and aging so much more quickly now than five years ago. No one warns you of this, and if they do, you're still too young to believe them. 50 is not far away, and sadly what your mother said sounds about right.

    1. Thank you, I miss him every day. They say time heals, but I think you just learn to live with what life gives you. And I've become alot more flexible than my younger days. Thank you for your comment and condolences.