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.

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