Last Saturday night we attended a fund raising event for the county firefighters association. It was the first time this event was being held so I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that there would be a banquet and an auction. Despite my best efforts to extract information from the pirate, I simply had no clue what the night would be like although I suspected it would involve catfish and country music.
Me: What’s on the menu?
Capt. Dave: I don’t know.
Me: What should I wear?
Capt. Dave: Whatever.
Me: Well, what exactly will we be doing?
Capt. Dave (with slight exasperation in his voice): I don’t have any idea what’s going on.
I didn’t know any other women attending so I couldn’t ask what they were planning to wear. The firefighters had all decided to wear their Happyland Volunteer Firefighters t-shirts which meant my *little black dress* and pearls would probably be a bit over the top. I seriously doubt these guys realized what a position they were putting their wives in by dressing so casually. I finally decided to just wear what I wanted to and chose a cute but fairly casual skirt, simple black sleeveless top and cute shoes. Gotta have the cute shoes, right?
Most of the women were in jeans or capris but I didn’t feel too awfully over-dressed. I mean, I probably was but I didn’t care. Most of the men were in jeans and casual shirts. A fair number wore Western shirts, Wranglers and even cowboy hats. Most of the volunteer firefighters wore the t-shirts from their department and the city firefighters (not volunteers) were in their nice uniforms. I think our volunteers need dress uniforms. There’s something about a guy in a uniform. Especially young, handsome firefighters sitting at the table right next to us…but I digress.
I was pleasantly surprised to find no catfish on the buffet. I love most fish and seafood but catfish just doesn’t usually do it for me. Mahi mahi, salmon, tilapia, a nice blackened redfish…yum, yum. But catfish? Well, not so much. The buffet included salad, grilled chicken, ham, brisket, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, rolls and two kinds of cobbler. It was all pretty good, too. I was beginning to think I had been wrong about the event. Until the country music started up. One of my online friends calls country music “slow death by whining” and I must agree. David and I considered bringing our iPods but reluctantly decided that might be interpreted as rude. Fortunately the music was just quietly in the background and before long they turned it off so the main event could begin. Local merchants and citizens had donated numerous items to be auctioned off, the proceeds going toward the purchase of new, much-needed communications equipment for the county.
I’ve only been to a couple of auctions and those were years ago. One was a cattle auction and one was at an estate sale. Neither were terribly exciting. This one, however, was one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen in a long time. There were two auctioneers, one of whom did most of the actual auctioning while the other watched for bids and helped out. The primary auctioneer is the ag teacher at a nearby school and looks an awful lot like Pioneer Woman’s “Marlboro Man”. I wish I had brought a camera. He was fairly tall and slim and came complete with Wranglers and cowboy hat. And he was hysterically funny. This was the sort of small town event where *everybody knows everybody* and this guy used that to advantage in encouraging bids. There was a lot of bantering back and forth which made the whole event a lot of fun to watch.
But what made the whole thing even more entertaining for me were the items being auctioned off. Some of the items were pretty routine and the type of thing I expected. A lawn mower, gift certificates for local restaurants, a nice crystal pitcher, various tools…that sort of thing. Then there were the typically rural items like a fishing rod, crossbow, a handmade quilt with wolves (?) on it, a handmade birdhouse, etc. But then there were a few items that I feel quite certain would not have been a part of an event like this in our native California.
For instance, a gift certificate worth $450 to have your deer head mounted. Or a couple of $100 gift certificates to a local fish farm. I couldn’t imagine what that one was for but David said it was so people could buy fish to stock their ponds. My favorite, however, was the $150 “hog hunt”. WTH? David was teasing me and threatening to bid on that one for me. Yeah, the woman in high heels whose idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service is just going to love to go on a hog hunt. But the real kicker was one of the last items given away as a door prize.
Imagine the scene. The local Elks Club with a couple hundred people. Really nice, salt of the earth types wearing jeans and cowboy boots. A night of bidding on fishing rods, tool boxes, John Deere law mowers, and hog hunts. And then the coup de gras…a gift certificate to “Chrystal Energy Healing”.
P.S. We had a fun evening, the auction alone raised nearly $6,000, and I got to hear David recite “We’re going on a hog hunt; we’re gonna catch a BIG one. We’re not afraid.” on our way home.