We are at an auction in a cool old barn off historic Route 66 on a clear and warm Saturday morning, just one daughter and me. The other two have decided sleeping in is way too enticing, so my grandparents, who my kids say love auctions like we love breathing, are joining us.
As my daughter and I settle into some chairs, it is still early so the cadence of the auctioneer lulls us with repeated pleas to buy it all. And that’s when our conversations begin. We think we might want a few well-worn fishing poles that remind us of Tom Sawyer’s need for such things; there’s a mystical old trunk lined with early 20th century newspaper scraps that remind us of all the stories we’ve read about secret compartments and long-lost treasure maps; and then a tiny yellowed photo of a sophisticated looking man with a gargantuan handlebar moustache, wearing a tuxedo while he holds a top hat and cane, who reminds us of a young Willy Wonka; we nudge each other at the sight of a cast iron motorcycle with sidecar that reminds us of my grandfather’s death-defying crash as a leather jacketed teen with cool black hair; and finally a rusty old west lantern that would have to accompany us on a really dark and foreboding walk through the “big woods” of Laura Ingall’s childhood.
We didn’t buy any one of these treasures, but we did find a great place to talk and tell stories. I say find these places wherever you can, especially with your kids, but be careful not to raise your hands too high in the air or nod your head at just the right moment as you talk…unless you have room in the trunk for some very long fishing poles.