An Auctioneering Monument

Yesterday (Halloween) was a holiday in my family, but not the one that everyone celebrates. It was my grandfather’s 83nd birthday.

My grandfather, or “Daddad,” as we call him, has been an auctioneer since 1955.

My grandfather, recognizing bidders.

 I didn’t think of auctioning as a “cool” job until college, when I met other people whose parents and grandparents weren’t immersed in the world of auctions—honestly, I was so used to it that I thought it a normal job. Little did I know.

My grandfather’s work in auctions (and subsequently, my mom’s, but that’s another story, for another post) is where I credit my work ethic. I’ve seen him (and my mom—giving credit where credit is due!) sell all day, and still go home and feed the cows.

Someone has to feed the cows.

This was a typical line from my grandfather—he used it when we tried to drag him on vacation to the beach. Since I didn’t see him put his feet in the ocean until I was in my twenties, I assumed he just didn’t like it there. But someone needing to feed the cows—that sense of personal responsibility for one’s property…that stuck with me.

As a kid, my siblings and I went to many a PennsylvaniaAuctioneers Association (PAA) and National Auctioneer’s Association (NAA) (link) convention.

My parents weren’t the type to take us to a convention and only let us go to the fun stuff—no, we also went to the business meetings and to sessions on voice care that later made me extremely careful about my vocal health as a singer (thanks, Daddad! and thanks, Mom!).

Conventions aren’t all just about fun, you see. It’s about improving yourself professionally.

Which, not surprisingly, is difficult to do in a room full of 600 auctioneers and their families. That loud, fast talking you hear auctioneers do on TV—yeah, they’re like that at the dinner table too.

It was at one of these events that gave my sisters and a delightful phrase by which to address my grandfather for years to come. It was at a PAA meeting, and my grandfather was slated to give the opening prayer and grace for the dinner at the meeting.

The man who introduced him called him an “auctioneering monument.”

If you need proof, here's Daddad's NAA Hall of Fame "baseball" card.
Yes, auctioneers get  hall of fame cards.

The card includes "stats" of course. One needs only
read the few comments to know the
essence of my  grandfather,
who is taciturn only when speaking about himself,
and ALWAYS practical.

Having never heard of a monument as anything but a statue, we, of course, though this was the most hilarious thing we’d ever heard. Peals of giggles, followed by stern looks, followed by more intense peals of giggles, and my grandfather stepped forward to pray.

We were quiet quiet-ish for that.

It wasn’t until years later that we understood that the man meant that my grandfather was a respected professional in his field, one who dedicated his life to work that, as he often said when we were kids, was his reason for getting up in the morning. Well, that, and he had to feed the cows.

It was my grandfather’s intense love for his work that gave me the courage to go into a relentlessly competitive, low yearly income, and incredibly rewarding profession myself—music.

I hope someday to be a monument myself, so that in some small way, I can be like my Daddad.

If you doubt  me, check in 56 years. I might be busy though, feeding the cows.

Happy Birthday, Daddad!!

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