Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

Driving away from the Relief Sale in September where I got a number but did not bid on a quilt, I had passed a changing neon ad for future fairground events. Waiting to turn left, I could not read it due to trees. I said to JK, “Read that sign for me, will ya?”

Turning back, he craned his neck. “Can’t. Tree’s in the way.” I thought I glimpsed something about Peddler’s Auction.

A week later, I drove back and read the sign. “Peddler’s Auction. Oct. 8, 8:30 A.M..” David and I went to one of those a couple of years ago.

That auction Saturday, David was visiting. Overnight a chill had set in. We drank morning coffee and bundled up for the outing. I wanted to arrive by at least 7:30 to look over furniture offerings.

Though I saw my breath when I walked onto the fairgrounds, wearing three layers I was warm enough. I hope to see a dining room table that will fit my space, but have a leaf.

My present 44” round table was good, but had no leaf. We five of the writers’ group were too crowded. Every summer since I had bought the Goshen condo in 2015, I scoured used furniture and consignment stores. I carry a small tape measure in my purse. Whatever I bought could not be more than 52 inches without the leaf. My space is limited.

The auction area included several of the 4-H barns and also parts of the gassy yard. Arriving early, people were milling around reminding me of a high school day before classes began. Mostly men and a few women joined David and me in browsing the housewares section. This sale had started. The auctioneer worked through boxes as his helper made note of who bought the contents. Each held contents like the drawer of a large household pantry or kitchen cupboard: dishes, kitchenware, sheets, towels, toys and even nick-knacks.

This isn’t where I need to look. I tapped David’s shoulder and motioned, “Follow me.” I stepped into the next barn. One end featured a food concession. The other was set up with women sitting at computers. Overhead signs indicated where to line up to get a bidder’s a number. Just like the quilt auction!

Amish Women cook and serve.

In the food area, Amish women wearing white head coverings and long dark dresses with aprons

bustled about. They made and wrapped breakfast sandwiches. Other women sold coffee, donuts and pastries.

David grinned, “I remember this place from last time. They sell huge long-johns!”

Sure enough, minutes later he held a long-john twice the size of an apple fritter. Amazing!

My son munched as we continued to the next barn. Looking right and left, I saw half the place was dedicated to household furniture! A large hand-lettered sign stated, “Furniture Auction starts 11:00.”

Here it is!

Still chewing, David ambled toward the other half of the barn where I heard the whir and buzz of machinery being tested.

I walked along a center aisle where both sides were lined three rows deep with chairs, beds, cabinets and tables. Each piece or set had a blue sticker with a lot number. On my right, I saw a square, dark wood table, one leaf and four chairs. Maybe! I pulled out my tape measure. Forty-eight inches. Not wanting to miss anything, I crossed to the opposite side. There I saw a drop-leaf, dark wood set, with six chairs and two leaves. I measured the drop-leaf with both sides up. Fifty-two inches. But either or both sides can go down. Versatile. But will David fit the chairs?

About then, my six-foot-one-inch, hundred-and-ninety- pound son wandered back. I coaxed him. “Come sit in this chair!” He nodded and collapsed his frame into the armed-chair. “It’s fine.”

In case I didn’t get that table, I led him across the aisle to the other set. Pulling out one of the four chairs I said, “Try this one.”

Again, he folded and sat. “This is OK, too.”

He dwarfs this chair. The drop-leaf set is definitely better. I wonder how much it will sell for.

While I debated how high I might bid, I also got a bidder’s number. As minutes ticked toward eleven o’clock, I decided on a dollar amount.

At eleven o’clock an Amish auctioneer wearing a black hat and his female helper in a black headscarf set up speakers.(Auction photo below.) In a blink, he began working through the three rows of furniture on one side, moving toward the set I wanted. Thirty-five minutes later, they reached the dining set. I was breathing fast and my palms were sweaty. Can I do this?

L to R: Auctioneer with mic and helper wearing black babushka. (The chairs pictured are not mine.)

The auctioneer began. “Drop-leaf table, two extra leaves and six chairs. Ten, who’ll give me ten?”

I did not see who bid. The man with the mic went on. “Fifteen, who’ll give fifteen?”

I’d better get in! I raised my hand and he nodded to me.

He sang on. “Fifteen, give me twenty!”

Again, I did not see my opposition.

The auctioneer continued, “Twenty! Who’ll give twenty-five?”

I raised my hand again.

The man sang, “Twenty-five! Will you give thirty?”

Who am I bidding against? Fingers trembling, I raised my hand again.

The Amishman said, “Miss. You have the bid.” After a pause he sang, “Sold to number…”

I held up my bidder’s card. Filled with excitement, I bounced! It’s mine! It’s mine!

Recovering my dignity, I hurried off to pay before anyone changed their minds. Minutes later, I helped David carry chairs to the back of the barn.

I left my son with them and moved the car to the loading area. However, even with the back seat down, we could fit only three chairs in the Honda. Luckily, my condo is only fifteen minutes from the fairgrounds!

David rests against a chair in the back of my CRV.

Three trips later, with Hubby’s help, the entire set waited in my garage to be washed and further inspected.

The opened drop-leaf finally installed in my condo.

Why did I have to wait three summers to find a dining set? Was getting a bidder’s number at the quilt sale part of a long, slow invisible process?

I don’t know. What I do know is I am surely blessed!

Frances Fritzie

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