Every year at this time, the man and I go to his hometown of Bremond to attend the barbecue and auction to benefit St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Neither of us is Catholic, but most of our extended family are. This year all of MSB’s siblings came, which made the event super-special.
What we look forward to the most is the auction. This rural Polish community donates some of the best things for the event, and folks don’t mind paying the price as bids go up, up, up. A handmade quilt can go for $3000 or more. Handmade quality furniture goes at least that high. Homemade wine averages $600–but so do homemade cakes. (The moonshine didn’t fare as well this year, but that’s because no one would admit to making it. Don’t know the quality if you don’t know the maker, and as long as the product is illegal for sale in Texas, you won’t know the maker.) Pickles, sauerkraut, and farm-fresh produce don’t earn into the hundreds, but they are considerably higher than their equivalents in the grocery store. Antiques run the gamut of prices. Someone we know bought a ’50s style entertainment center for $45. Excellent condition–just needed a little cleaning–old fashioned radio on one side and a turntable and record cabinet on the other. A ’20s style gas heater with all its radiant bricks whole and in place went for $400.
We tend to look for the unusual and unique. One year, the man bought a jewelry box for me that an inmate in Angola Prison had made, another year he bought a “growler”–a smoky-glassed beer bottle.
This year, someone had donated a cabbage slicer and a Polish fermenting crock for making sauerkraut–and we wanted it.
I didn’t realize how much MSB wanted it until the bidding cranked into full gear. Seems the woman a couple of rows ahead of us wanted it as much as we did. The man couldn’t make a bid before her placard went up to top it. The bidding went back and forth at a feverish rate until the price went up to $300, and instead of $310, which would’ve been the next bid, the woman got frustrated and yelled “$400!”
By this time, everyone is staring at us, the combatants in a bidding war. I was ready to shout “Five!” but the man was in control of the placard (thank heavens), so we graciously let her have it. Well, I grumbled some, but we tried to be gracious about it.
Then, this morning, I went on a search for a crock just like it. Guess where I found it? Amazon. For $53. You can get a traditional wooden shredder there too, for only $53. So, for $106 plus shipping etc. I can have the same thing that woman paid $400 for.
But buying it on Amazon just kills the thrill.