I attended a large farm auction on Saturday in a very beautiful and rural part of Dorr, MI. The fields were high with ripening corn and the Halloran Farm property was full of people of all ages, including young families with small, well-behaved children. It’s evidently still true that farm auctions are an old-fashioned form of social gathering in farm country.
The day was a brief snapshot into the life of a farm family, 70 years in the making. I could see this family’s life choices right in front of my eyes; their two-story traditional white farm-house, and the old, big red barn that needed painting.
It was a scene out of a Norman Rockwell painting; a huge red barn surrounded by large machinery, multiple outbuildings, their clothing, their dishes, their furniture, their collections; the sum total of their life together working the family farm.
In truth, it was kind of sad seeing their belongings dispersed to the actively buying crowd. But it was also good knowing that all these special pieces would find their way into someone elses home to be loved for another generation.
The furniture was worn but beautiful in a vintage way with the marks of a good long life upon it. I know the farm wife sewed because I saw her sewing machine. She canned because I saw her canning pot and a very large collection of jars, both clear and blue. She loved pretty glassware as she had a large collection that went a piece or two at a time.
I know they were aging because there was a cane, a grabber, a heated foot bath and a walker. I talked to their daughter who told me the story of their life and her role in it. I watched her buying a few special pieces from the estate. You could see the memories wash across her face as she bid for the obviously special pair of blue glass lamps and the chair, pillow and footstool that was the one her mother always sat in. She didn’t tell me that, but it was written all over her face and I could feel it in the air as she bid. It was an intimate moment to her love of her mother.
I bought a few memories too; an old dresser with a mirror that I plan to paint, a little dressing table stool with a back and a primitive old farm stool
This father and mother are gone now, but their belonging and their love lives on
This day was a meditation to two lives well-lived.
Small House / Big Sky Donna