Yesterday my Aunt Beverly’s church, Old Union Christian, held its annual auction. This auction in the Fall and a yard sale in the Spring are the only fundraisers this beautiful little country church does, and it’s been doing the auction the same way for fifty years. Last year’s church auction was Beverly’s last public appearance before she passed away from cancer. She didn’t feel well, but refused to admit it, and brought goodness knows what all to be auctioned off.
This was the first year I’ve attended since I was a young girl, but I’m planning on going back every year. The last of Beverly’s home-canned sauces, jams, jellies, relishes, pickles, etc went up for auction. My step-mom, Edie, had put together four boxes of items. Some the crowd insisted be sold item by item, some were sold in lots. Beverly would have enjoyed it.
Church members donate handmade, home-grown, home-canned items and a fabulous auctioneer comes and auctions everything off to the community members sitting in chairs carried up from the church basement. Kids and dogs run around, old friends catch up, and they take personal checks from folks who spend more than the cash they brought with them (thank goodness!). There are candies, cakes, and pies that have been made by the same people, with the same recipes, for decades. Two butterscotch pies went for $100 each! But there were still bargains to be had, and I came away with candy handmade by my Sunday School teacher from high school and her mother, a jar of crabapple jelly made by a church icon, and the very last of someone’s tomato crop, which I intend to use to make BLTs three meals a day until I run out. You can’t get a decent tomato at Kroger and every time I try to grow them the ninja squirrels eat them. But I digress.
She especially would have enjoyed that as Edie and I sat talking, only stopping momentarily to bid on a few items, my dad (and Beverly’s big brother) sat in the shade behind us and bought so much stuff he had to pull the truck into the parking lot to get it all back home. I think he was just bidding randomly – there’s no other way to explain some of the items that were dropped at Edie’s feet by a laughing “auction assistant”. Auction assistants do such things as model hand-knit hats (on an eighty-year-old bald head), tell the stories that go along with items up for bid (This is so-and-so’s jam cake recipe, but she had to bake it in thus-and-so’s oven because hers is out right now), and open sealed containers to give potential bidders a sniff of the contents. That’s what got me. He waved that candy under my nose and I knew there was peanut butter fudge in there and that it had to go home with me.
In general, it’s the kind of relaxed, old-fashioned good time you can’t find easily these days. I promise next year I’ll remember to put a reminder post here on the blog to remind everyone in the Central Kentucky area to come to the auction, or to follow my posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the highlights if you live too far away. It’s always the first Saturday in October, it always starts at 10:45am, and they always take a short lunch break so you can carry your early purchases to your car and grab a hot dog and a coke at the food truck. Put it on your calendar now! Dad and Edie’s dog, Harper, was so popular that one lady bought her a hot dog and another bought her a bottled water. The people who bought the first $100 butterscotch pie drew the line when she wanted to stick her snout in it, though. Next year look for the bids to go high on Edie’s Pound Cake – it’s fabulous. And I’d like to say I’ll hope there will be a Betty Rose pecan pie on the auction trailer (all items are auctioned off a flatbed trailer set in the shade) but I know I couldn’t even afford the opening bid on that one!
Anyway, if you want a new Fall tradition that showcases people who really know what giving the best of your Harvest to your Church is about show up at The Lord’s Auction next year. It’s a beautiful drive out Russell Cave Road from Lexington, and you never know what sort of treasure you’ll find an buy to benefit an excellent cause!