THE CLEARING SALE
At last the day had finally arrived in rough weather bleak and cold,
I gazed up at a brooding sky and thought, will the weather hold,
A life of farming, stock and plant would all here be sold today
And when at last with the final bid, a lifetime swept away.
Age had finally made it’s mark and with health on the downhill slide,
The wife said we’ll have to sell and by the doctor’s orders you abide,
So nearly every day for several weeks I sorted through the sheds,
Drenching guns, tins of paint and some old time antique beds.
Forgotten trinkets came to light that I’d forgotten all about,
Things I’d bought at clearing sales that I thought were cheap no doubt.
Picks and shovels and thistle hoes and a man killing crosscut saw,
From some rusted old paint tins nuts & bolts rolled round the floor.
When through the stable door I passed the memories seemed to flow,
Hames and collars up on the wall and now they all must go,
Dolly, Diamond, Robin, Bell, each horse could pull a ton,
They done their share of heavy work as they all pulled as one.
On another peg up on the wall an old saddle showed its age,
Used long before the motor bike when the stock horse ruled the stage,
And I thought again of a trusty steed as I took his bridle off the nail,
A lump rose slowly in my throat but I knew the future must prevail.
As the years slowly passed we find that time will not stand still
And a Fergie tractor took the place of the horses jobs to fill,
With tractors came some different plant and a most useful carry-all
But a tractor is not like a horse who will answer to your call.
And down the track behind the barn the old hay-shed has the leans,
I remember the fun when chasing mice when we were in our teens,
From the dairy came the cans, milk machines and diesel motor,
For in the days we milked the cows we had a good sized quota.
At last I had all things laid out after hours of toil and grunting
For all the regulars at clearing sales, a bargain they’d be hunting,
And then the crowd began to come in trucks and cars and utes’
To take an early look at plant and tools and their many attributes.
Then right on the hour of ten in a voice quite loud and clear,
“Gather round all you good folks,” cried the voice of the auctioneer,
“I’ll read the terms then make a start so we can get out of the cold,
This is a genuine clearing sale as everything must be sold.”
The terms are read, the folk crowd in, a bargain there to claim,
The clerk said, “ Get your number at the office and register your name,”
“Who’ll give me a start,” cries the Auctioneer to the people crowding round,
“Hey Jack, what about you, this pile of wood will suit you down to the ground.”
The sale proceeds down each long row, a mixture of trash and treasure,
Some tins of paint, I watch them go and an old time six foot measure,
A four wheel trailer stacked with tools that had served me thru’ the years,
An old chain saw that was hard to start and often had me close to tears.
Then an electric grinder is held aloft, the bids come thick and fast,
It makes nearly as much as when I bought it new as the final bid is cast,
An old bird cage that’s showing it’s age for the bird long ago has flown,
Then the Auctioneer gets caught with a bid and puts in a bid of his own.
The dairy plant is next in line, I’m amazed at the price the milk cans make,
A collectors item they surely must be, for high price they’ve taken the cake,
But lots of things like chains and swings, only a pittance they have brought
And the harness of which I once was proud was not now so eagerly sort.
The furniture now is last in line, the wife is feeling quite tense I know,
She’s looked after it well since first it was bought all those many years ago,
The old leather couch from the living room, oh what a tale that it could tell
And even though it was showing its age it had certainly served us well.
A great stack of records, mostly 78’s that brought us all a joy untold,
A pathway down a long long road as I saw those bygone years unfold,
Then the Auctioneer when the end was near thanked all for coming today,
He said, “ I think we’ve had a bit of luck for the showers have kept away”
An hour or two and the crowd was gone and I felt so much alone
But I knew when we collected our cheque the amount would surely atone,
Now the wife and I must change our ways for we finally can retire,
For at last it is time to take a rest, for our farm we’ve found a buyer.