Well today I’m remembering a very noisy (and smelly) place from my childhood: the sale barn. It was the place my parents took cattle for auction.
One step inside and you were hit with the strong aroma of manure. I followed my parents up the steps and took a seat. All around us were men in coveralls wearing seed corn hats and manure-covered boots.
The whole place was a flurry of activity. Cattle bawled from the ring. The auctioneer scanned the crowd, shouting some strange language I couldn’t understand. Old farmers bid on cows. Finally the auctioneer would stop and yell the one word I could understand. “Sold!”
I always sat very still, convinced that if I raised my hand or even scratched my nose I’d end up bidding on a cow. Dad would be so mad if I bought a cow. I always breathed a sigh of relief when the auctioneer yelled, “sold” and he wasn’t pointing at me.
Some guy in a plaid shirt and a long switch prodded at the cows and followed them out of the ring. Like clockwork another bunch came in and took their place. Dad gave me a nudge and pointed. “Look Sis, there’s our cows.”
I gave him a nod. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that “our cows” looked like every other cow I’d seen that day.
I usually ordered a cheeseburger, which felt like a treat. Mom always made stuff like roast, potatoes and gravy and creamed peas. As I ate my lunch, men talked of market prices and the weather forecast.
Finally, it was time to go home. On the way, mom and dad discussed their thoughts on “what the cows brought,” and discussed which chores should be done as soon as we got home. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention. I was just glad I didn’t accidentally buy a cow.