Sunday, April 29, 2012


We have been getting ready for a farm sale for close to a year. The work, worry, and trips to Kansas have ratcheted up as the months went by. Each trip was reliving years of experiences and saying goodbye to a life as it used to be. The house has stood without residents for two years while the in-laws accepted assisted living. They finally said they could not go back. I will spare you the stories of no water to clean with, rodents invading the house, rotting wood on the deck dropping me like a hangman’s trap door, the snakes slithering about, the tornado watch as the final cleaning was done, and the disappearing asparagus patch!

Regular readers know how hard any estate sale or home auction is for me. It is sad to me to see buyers at any sale consider and then disregard a lifetime in the dishes that once served family meals at a mother’s hand, a tool used endlessly in a father’s fist, tablecloths painstakingly crocheted by a grandmother’s enlarged knuckles, or a cheap piece of colored glass that sat forever directing the morning sun’s rays on the living room wall. At the farm sale it was hard to see a woman walk away with piece of pottery or a basket that belonged to my mother-in-law. I had to fight the urge to say, “Hey you, where are you going with that!” But the children had taken all they could take; it had to be sold.

Once the sorting and boxing and cleaning were done, the auction itself was easier. There was a melancholy underneath the day sure, but there was laughter as well as tears. The leaning port a potty? Or maybe some ugly item that no family member appreciated but sold for a surprising price. Neighbors appeared just to show support; men who had farmed the land with my father-in-law or who might have borrowed a rake or cultivator some hot summer day. Women who knew of my mother-in-law’s paintings, wanting one more, realizing there would be no more Dorothy art for their own farmhouse walls.

We got up Friday to a serious tornado watch and the promise of heavy rains for Saturday mornings. But by the end of that day, there had been no hail or rain and the forecast had changed for the next day. As we sat out under the trees after the last of the work was done the night before the auction, a breeze picked up. I have always thought God was in the wind, and I felt that He was whispering to us that the blessings would continue. They did as NO rain on Saturday, no burning sun, no cold, no wind. A slight cloud cover kept the temps perfect for a crowd to stand about at an auction.

My mother-in-law told me she was not happy about the sale but knew it was time. She said life for her is now in a new phase; she would not fight this passage. She is a lesson in what we all have to do some day. Although another chapter in Life's book has ended, only a page is turned.

Today has been quiet. Both our minds and bodies are at rest here at home. A few hours ago one son notified us of his no-problem half marathon run this morning-on his birthday. The other son sent a picture of baby Simon’s first haircut. Yes, the story continues.  


Rebecca said...

...another chapter ended, only a page is turned.

What a vivid word picture you've painted here. I "felt" this story as I read it. Both my parents and my husband's mother are kind of still in the middle of the "chapter" but it's coming to an end soon, I think.

Linda O'Connell said...

Claudia, your words evoked such a range of emotions. You are a master at writing personal essay. I also feel the same way about estate sales. It breaks my heart. I, too feel God in the wind. We have a lot in common.

We lost power here for three hours but no bad hail; it was north and west of us. Another chapter in your life and that of your in-laws. Their beloved objects will now be someone else's and put to good use.

Donna Volkenannt said...

What treasured memories you've shared. The photos say a lot, but your words paint beautiful pictures. And I love how you ended on a positive note with a look to the future.

We did have hail damage here. I was taking prom photos at a hotel in St. Charles. My new VW got some dimples on the roof.

Susan said...

Awwww, Claudia, that was a beautifully written piece. You should submit it somewhere since most people will have similar experiences at some point in their lives.

Cheeze, your MIL is a wonderful artists. Just lovely. And that white cabinet was so pretty, too. Awwww, it IS sad. Thanks for sharing. Susan