On Saturday the kids and I went to a farm auction. It was just south of where I laid my head for 18 years, at a farm that I closely associate with my childhood, as I spent many days there playing with the granddaughter of the occupants.
I paused while pushing the double stroller up the winding driveway, and stood in awe of the home itself. The place was a mansion when I was eight years old, and in my mid-thirties it was still as big and beautiful. I wondered if the main stairwell banister was still sturdy as a rock and polished perfectly. I wondered if the light switches upstairs were still the push-button kind. It was my dream home growing up, and that has never changed.
I reached the auction site and navigated through the barn lot, looking at the many (I mean, tons) of things laid out for the public to view then eventually bid on. Vases, sewing machines, Pyrex bowls, quilts, washing machines, wagons, cars, lamps, cowboy boots and hats, framed art, tools…the variety of things for sale on Saturday was endless. I was drawn to the Angus memorabilia.
Dick and Ruthanna Kinsinger were avid Angus breeders and Dick’s love for the breed dated back to 1941 when he bought his first heifer. Ruthanna, if you can believe it, was a Shorthorn gal from Union County. At the auction was a table of trophies, plaques and ribbons, all relics of the success the Kinsinger family had in the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. A sadness came over me to see them all for sale. I can only imagine the years of blood, sweat and tears that went into winning those grand prizes. I considered the pride behind each one and the animals that rested in the barn along Washington Road. And on this day, generations later, the awards would go home with the highest bidder. It was in that moment that I became certain the I don’t have the emotional stability to attend farm auctions.
Farm auctions are interesting things. A person passes away all of their things are moved to the yard and then sorted through by strangers and sent to new homes. Things that once filled a single family home are dispersed throughout the land, to unrecognizable people and places. There were a few times that during the auction I stood by members of the Kinsinger family. I heard phrases such as, “We played with that when I was a child” or “Do you remember that from Christmas?”
Those are emotional triggers for a walking time capsule such as myself. I heard the detail about Christmas and I almost bought everything on the table simply because I think I would have really loved Christmas in 1965. I saw a lift chair for sale and considered buying it, not because I needed it or had the space for it, but because I knew that is where Dick loved to watch Purdue basketball…I went to Purdue for four years…and went to one basketball game during that time…it would only be pure destiny that I buy the lift chair.
I have got to quit going to farm auctions.
Old cattle clippers, show boxes, show halters, boots. There were so many things at the farm auction that I would love to own, simply because I admire so the much people that once wore, used or held them. But I kept my check book close and memories of Dick and Ruthanna closer. I’m so fortunate to have grown up with such neighbors. You guys…in the 1980’s they gave out Halloween treat bags with our names on them. That’s all I need to say.
I left the farm auction with an antique metal Tonka Truck livestock hauler that I’ll clean up and give to Cyrus on his first birthday next month. I am also now the proud owner of a hand tooled wallet with an Angus bull painted on it. I’m thankful to have a bit of the Kinsinger family in our home. I also left with two exhausted, hungry, sweaty kids. Which is very normal.
I didn’t buy a single Angus trophy, ribbon or plaque, and I’m kicking myself now. Cody asked me where we would have put them, and I didn’t have an answer. It would have been odd to display the prizes from someone else’s work. We aren’t the kind of people who believe in participation trophies. But dang, I love a blue ribbon (says the gal who never got many growing up).
Dick and Ruthanna Kinsinger were incredible neighbors during my formative years. Ruthanna could cook and sew far beyond anyone I knew, and Dick mowed three times a week, which kept my mother busy.
And in the last six months, Dick taught me a lesson far beyond farm auctions. But that is a story for another week.

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