The Kiko folks have taken to putting up signs of this nature along roads where one of their commercial activities is going on, and with good reason. These secondary highways are plenty full of just plain drivers, let alone the avid auction-goers looking for a place to park–without sliding into a ditch or quicksand (as I found to my dismay).
So…another day, another auction. Drier roadsides to park along and a relative lack of traffic to be impeded but no less a crowd of interested bidders-in-waiting looking for a grand bargain. About a half-mile hike to get to the actual location from where I parked in a tractor drive at the top of a hill the sound of the auctioneer could be heard. It was a good crowd and they were in a spending mood. I could hear “…hundred…fifty…two hundred…fifty….” as I came down the drive, headed for the check-in to get my number. They saw stuff that they wanted and they went after it. Tom Szabaga, a railroad aficionado encountered there, confessed that RR memorabilia was his “drug of choice.” Didn’t see if he got a chance to mainline any on this occasion.
The person whose estate it was–probably a guy–was all about railways, maps, lanterns, tickets, operating manuals, stock certificates, pieces of apparatus, signals; you name it, he could very well have had several examples and maybe even boxfuls. It was all that I could do to keep from bidding on one of the cast iron “W” markers scattered about (Not something that a person might ordinarily be drawn to) so that I could put one out by the drive…or by the porch…or in the garden…or somewhere. I thought that it might have stood for “west”, you know, beside the tracks to let the engineers know which way they were going or something( An engineer really ought to know that) but I found out–from one of the railroad buffs there– that it was a signal to the engineer, all right, but it was for sounding the whistle before a crossing. It did cross my mind that just getting one of these beauties of considerable weight to my car might be a bit more of a project than I wanted to undertake. There were boxes of train models, tracks and all, in various states of preservation. I spotted one of these with a small wooden box of interest but while I was exploring the many ranks of boxes and containers ( all labeled; this collector was SERIOUS) with other stuff in them, somebody made off with that. My luck with wooden boxes has been sinking fast.
There were cast iron markers from railroads, from bridges, public works of all kinds that called out for commemoration, some listing the county commissioners taking credit for them, some with dates, some without. The weight of the purchases going out of that place must have been immense.
This person–whoever–also had a BIG collection of cast iron, pot-bellied stoves. They looked well-cared-for for the most part, polished black. There were quite a few Amish bidders on those items. There were boxes of ammunition of various sorts Looked like this person had built one–maybe two– buildings just to hold his collections of STUFF. If you’re going to collect stuff, that’s the way to go. Wonder what the inside of the place looked like?
It was a cheerful crowd. The bidding was spirited and must have warmed the heart of whoever was going to profit from it. Old pictures were selling, old maps were selling, old lamps were selling. The furniture was no great shakes and the household goods were pretty ordinary. One bidder that I talked to was tickled to get a box with hats in it and there certainly was a vast selection of lots and lots of STUFF.
The concession trailer was doing a brisk business, due partly to the fact that it had more of a selection than is usually found at these affairs. Hot French fries were available, along with chicken sandwiches, I think; the aroma of hot grease got more appealing as the lunch hour approached. Somebody, no doubt, has a deal with the Kiko people to work these things. You don’t usually find the “ladies of the church” serving up sloppy joes and homemade oatmeal cookies any more…unless the family of the estate arranges it, I suppose. Now-a-days, the “ladies of the church” are more likely to be working at the hospital or the dealership down the road than being available for such projects.
So, on the walk back to the car–empty handed–was all uphill, so I entertained myself by picking up aluminum cans for re-cycling. Got quite a collection. It must irritate folks on the county and township roads that dirtbags with more money than good sense use their roadsides for trash bins. Heck, it bugs me and I don’t even live there. Anyway, John Porter–the Can Man–will have gained more from this expedition than I.
It’s all good.