Sunday, October 11, 2020

What Passes for Excitement at our House

 Out of the blue, Tim said, "Hey, what are you doing Thursday?" 

I said, "Nothing that can't be moved around. Why?" 

And he said, "Hallenbeck is doing an estate liquidation at the Oakview Tavern. I want you to go find something nice there and buy it." 

The Oakview used to be the fine dining establishment in our town. It originally opened in the late 20s or early 30s. I'd never been there. Money was tight in my family growing up. Tim's a preacher's kid whose parents were pinched even tighter than mine. 

I said, "Why?" 

"Because I want something from there."

We like our furniture to have stories. The bedroom furniture upstairs is from the furniture company my grandfather worked at. In another bedroom there is a Victorian bedroom set with a matching marble top dresser. It's from the 1860s. The curio cabinet from the funeral home in Youngsville, the hoosier cabinet in the kitchen came from the Hull family who owned that funeral home before the present owners. The list goes on and on. 

We have accumulated a lot of furniture and that is mostly my fault. I see beautiful furniture and I want it. My dream is to have a used furniture store. I even have a name for it: 'Begin Again'. I envision it as a place where people can come and buy good furniture inexpensively. It will never cease to amaze me the furniture people just get rid of for no reason other than they are tired of it.  And for a pittance too. I think everyone deserves a pretty house, no matter whether they are starting over, or starting out. 

It's just a dream I've always had. 

But, as usual, I have wandered off topic. Back to the story at hand.

 I reminded Tim that we are going to be downsizing. We will be building a house. 

He said, "Just go and find us something from there." He thought. "Let's set a limit," and he gave me a number that made my eyes bug. He wasn't talking about a table cloth. 

I said, "Tim. Why? What should I buy? I mean, what on earth do we NEED?" And he said, "You'll know it when you see it. Just go and look."

Today, they began advertising that sale on line. I clicked through the pictures and I saw it. I saw the thing that we absolutely would need for the new house, and I wanted it something awful. I clicked through the pictures and found a second thing that would be great to have. I began to feel that old familiar feeling. 

While he was waiting for the roof to dry so that we could continue working on the garage, Tim had taken a walk to look for deer. He returned at exactly the right moment. From my perch on the sofa, I said, "Well, I found what we're going for at the Oakview."

He took off his boots and dropped into the rocking chair. "They've got pictures?!!" and he eagerly reached for my phone. 

"Yep," I said, "and this is what I am going to try to get." I passed him my phone. He looked at it. "I knew that you'd find just the right thing!" 

And we talked about the new kitchen and how that would go perfectly with everything we've already collected. He even found another piece to go with it that he thought I should try to get too. I studied it and agreed that it was a very practical. We would still be under our agreed upon limit. 

I showed him the back up plan. 

"That's very cool. I like that too." He studied it, and I could tell that he was getting excited too. He zoomed for a closer look. "There's a lot of different places that something like that would fit. 

I am playing my cards close to my chest. I don't want to jinx it. Why don't you flip through the pictures and see if you can guess? 


  1. I have a lot of old things that we found on someones lawn to give away, my husband tightened it up or tore it apart and glued it tight and than refinished it. I can't remember the last piece of new furniture I had. I have an old chopping block table from a meat shop that we found in an alley, they were redoing a meat chop. They loaded it with a fork lift and Ron started sanding it over and over. It still is low on one side where they cut meat on it but the finish is beautiful, it sits in one place as it takes 3 men to move it. I have many more old pieces over 100 years old, I don't think my kids will appreciate them as much as I do and my husband loved the old stuff he could redo. Anxious for Thurs. to see what the pieces will be that you get.

  2. Wow, I'm glad that auction isn't near me or I would go broke in a hurry. There are a lot of nice big furniture pieces but we don't have room for any of that anymore. So if I were picking a couple pieces that I would like right now, one would be that pigeon hole desk and the other would be a stack or two of those small cast iron pans.

    I am like Tim sometimes in that I have gone to auctions with the intent to buy something from their that just tells their story whenever I see it. Unfortunately, I am too cheap I guess because rarely do I cough up enough money to be successful and come home with an item like that. I do however just enjoy the atmosphere of being at an auction and seeing "what things bring". Come to think of it, that is probably the activity I miss most about this year.

  3. Did you the price on that stuff Ed? One pan, with lid, had a price of $525. But the place had tons of it. Which amazes me! Full price the first day, 20% of the second, and 50% of the third. Ellie you are a sharp cookie.

  4. *off. Phone always thinks it knows what I mean.

  5. I'm not sure I follow you. Is this an auction (i.e. highest bid wins) or just a sale? I saw the 525 tag on that one pan with lid but there would be no way I would pay that and I would be shocked if it went anywhere near that price. I figured those were just lot numbers to keep track of things. I also didn't see the 20% off and 50% off on the second and third days.

    I can't image what the auction service charges for a service like that. There would be a minimum of three days of labor plus paying to remove everything that wasn't sold. Here an estate auction usually takes a short day and everything is sold whether it brings $1 or higher. Even for that they can charge highway robbery prices if you don't shop around. During our farm auction, the auctioneering service took home about six times the average annual household income for this area as their fee.

  6. That number is the price. I cannot claim to be an expert on cast iron. I have two cast iron skillets and I see no need to have more than that. (Actually, I probably have one too many, truth be told). Old Griswold cast iron seems to command the highest prices. The fact that the particular pan comes with a lid is (for whatever reason) a big deal. If you go to e-bay and look up cast iron skillets, hit highest price first, you will see what I mean.

    How Hallenbeck sales work is this: The first day that you go, you pay full price. You can always gamble and wait for the second day, when things are 20% reduced. Some people just wait and go on the last day and pick up whatever it is that they want, if it is still there, when things are half price.

    In one of the guest rooms, the victorian bedroom set is a Hallenbeck purchase. The deal on that was that we didn't even really need another bedroom set, but we both loved it. The bed was $400 or so. The matching marble topped dresser was about $200+. We walked away on the first day, based on the traffic we saw, and the things being bought, it didn't look as if the pricier things were going that quickly. We went back on the second day to makes sure it was still there. On the third day, we were there when the doors opened and bought it all for about $300.

    This sale will be different. It will likely be heavily attended. We both know the thing that we want. It is a good deal compared to online. I will probably buy it on that first day. Unless I get some weird vibe that makes me decide to do it differently.

  7. PS the price reduction is not advertised, until the day of the reduction. Go to enough of these sales, and you understand how it works. They are always 3 day sales, and they always work them that way.


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