Friday, May 16, 2008

My quest for Red Burpo's hat

In my small town a curious mourning ritual occurs after the death of an elderly family member.

It's called....the auction.

When a family member passes on and their collection of their life's belongings have been scattered to the wind blowing through the closets of the surviving family, the remaining items are separated, sorted, boxed up and set out on tables by an auction house hired by the executors of the deceased persons estate.

In some cases it may be the Tax Man who initiates the auctioning off of goods, in others a distant relative, or as the case was in the most recent instance of my auction attendance, the surviving children.

This particular auction ritual could only take place in the environment that is Oklahoma. While the jaded, pessimist in me assumes there must be some incidences of petty theft and thievery occurring within the unguarded boxes of auction items, I couldn't begin the imagine the mayhem, theft, confrontation, and ultimate chaos that would erupt at such an event in any other place but the small town environs of mid-America.

Basically, it goes something like this...

You get wind of an auction by flyer, newspaper clipping, word of mouth, or you happen upon a metal sign stuck out on some county road advertising the upcoming auction event.

Show up the day of the auction early (to peruse the goods), step up to a 5th wheel acting as a mobile auction office on wheels, get a number card (just like at Christy's), show them some ID and wait for the bidding to start.

Boxes of stuff usually start at a dollar and can go as high as the bidders will tolerate. Often boxes are combined with other items when no bids are given.

Vehicles usually go about noon, furniture earlier than that, and if a house or mobile home is being sold, it'll usually be last or next to last to go.

The other day this auction flyer came in the daily mail to our home...



"Red" Burpo's life was over, and now his stuff was being sold off to the highest bidder.

I am so there.

Next up, who was "Red" Burpo and why was I destined to attend his auction.

1 comment:

Annie said...

We have the same mourning ritual here in small town Minnesota. Most of my furniture and tools used to belong to my neighbors.