Yvonne Hollenbeck

The Auction Sale

From From My Window and Other Poem. Pine Hill Press, 2005.

After sixty years of marriage, our neighbor passed away,
and when they had his auction ’twas a nice and sunny day.
I suppose because it was so nice the crowd was fairly large,
but I finally found a place to park and walked up to the yard.
Their yard was full of furniture and almost everything,
as the auctioneer, his helpers, and the bidders formed a ring.
I was wanting nothing special, but I thought perhaps I’d buy
just some kind of memento if things didn’t go too high.
Then I saw her in a lawn chair in the shade beneath a tree,
and I went to say hello and hoped that she’d remember me.
When she saw me walking towards her she broke out in a smile,
then took my hand and asked if I would sit with her awhile.
Of course, I had intended to get in the bidding war,
but the lonely look upon her face I’d never seen before.
So I took the other lawn chair and I asked her how she’d been;
She said that she was pretty good, but my, how she missed him.
Then told me how they came here when they were newlywed
and she pointed to a dresser and a pretty iron bed,
saying: “That was our first purchase, and that old cast-iron range.”
Then she started telling how things were, and how the West had changed.
Next she pointed to a feed bunk full of harness, nets and hames;
and in it were his saddles; she talked of horses he had trained.
The afternoon went fast. We both shed several tears
as she told me lots of stories of their many happy years
a-building up this ranch, how she had made a home,
but today it all is auctioned off ’cause she can’t stay alone.
She asked if I’d come visit her; of course, I said I would
but it seems I keep so busy and don’t do the things I should.
A lifetime full of memories were shared with me that day,
and I hoped that just by listening it’d helped her in a way
to ease the pain she felt inside as all her things were sold,
while she recounted happy times back in the days of old.
I didn’t buy a thing that day and didn’t even care
’cause I got something one can’t buy while chatting with her there.
See, I took home something special as I headed on my way…
… the blessings of a friendship from the auction sale that day.