Posted 06-08-2003 at 04:43:17
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..that I went to Friday night is a world all it's own. They sell anything from hampsters to fencing material. Whatever anybody cares to bring in. Rabbits, chickens, turkeys, ducks, pigs, goats, sheep, and on one occasion that I am aware of they overlooked the 'small animal' rule and sold a gorgeous white quarter horse mare.
It's no secret that many folks bring animals to this auction once they have out lived their usefulness. It's also no secret where many of these animals end up, so it was with a great deal of trepidation that I went there with a dog box in the back of my truck containing four little billy goats. I was proud of these little bucks. They were bright eyed and bushy tailed, healthy and strong.
I needed the money for feed, I also needed to remove these billys from my herd, eventually they could have posed a problem, but I worried. What if I didn't sell them? I would have to bring them home, carrying who knows what kind of potentially dangerous bacteria that could wipe out my whole herd. What if I did sell them and they left with the man in the big trailer from Miami, off to certain death? Everybody knows the man from Miami comes for meat animals only.
In the pen next to my little boys was a boar hog, more than a few years old, and clearly in pain. He had a broken leg. Six hundred pounds of animal on three old legs and one broken one. Next to him, six nanny goats. One with a nasty behind, one with a swollen udder, most likely mastitic, and a little one that was clearly too young to be weaned and not with the mother it was born too.
Further on I found a calf, only a few days old, missing one eye. In the back of the same pen a calf lay dying. The animal auction is the place where responsible animal owners and the unscrupulous animal traders walk side by side, with the same goals. Buy, sell, profit.
The auction started at seven p.m., the voice of the auctioneer cutting through the banal conversations that people find themselves engaged in in these environments. I was still sitting there on pins and needles when finally at eleven fifteen the auctioneer said ..."little billys, little billys all, buyers choice.....starting the bid at twenty, do I hear twenty, twenty, thank you sir, who'll give me twenty five, twenty five, twenty five.....twenty five to number 2014, who'll give me twenty six...."
I sat there with my heart in my throat. Many people had left already. When the bidding stalled at thirty two dollars I clenched my teeth. It was down to the man holding number 2014 and the man from Miami, the man from Miami having bid the thirty two dollars. The old boar hog, and the six nannies and the calf with one eye were already loaded on the trailer bound for Miami.
I had a wild urge to bid on my own animals, and was literally in the process of raising my hand when number 2014, with a barely perceptible nod of his head, bid thirty two fifty.
"Thirty two fifty..thank you sir, I have thirty two fifty, thirty two fifty, going going...will anyone give me thirty three.." The auctioneer pasted his eyes on the man from Miami, and I wanted to throttle him. The man from Miami, shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. He had given up these billys for what amounted to two dollars and I could have hugged him for his frugality.
Number 2014 crossed the auction barn and met up with a woman, clearly his wife, and two children, then he went into the office to pay for the goats. My goats. When he pulled a small homemade trailer with local plates up to the loading ramp, I saw my chance. I had to know, and since the man had no idea who I was, I went for it.. I made my way over there and nodded at the man.
“Nice little goats.” I said, smiling.
“Yeah,” he nodded. “I’ve got a pasture out back just over run with weeds, they will definitely earn their keep.”
He slammed the door shut on the trailer and Ying-yang, the one who went missing a few months ago, let out a little bleat of alarm.
I knew it would not be appropriate to kiss this man in front of his wife. I was sure she would not understand my sudden affection for her husband, so I just stood there grinning like an idiot while he climbed into the truck and drove away.
I made up my mind then and there that I would not return to the auction. An ad in the paper would have to suffice. There’s no way to know what future lies in wait for the animals that we sell, but at the very least I know that the man from Miami does not respond to ads in the paper.