My Schnickelfritz and the Toolman were both running the soundboards for both church services yesterday--at Children's Promiseland and the main sanctuary respectively. This left me free to stop at a local estate auction. The yard had been filled with years of collected books, tools, furniture, etc. I was sticking around in hopes of picking up an atlas and a copy of Ken Burns' Civil War for our school when I heard the mention of camping gear over the loud speaker. Schnickelfritz will be able to go camping with Royal Rangers next year and I've been thinking about overnight trips to other parts of our state as we cover Missouri history. I hadn't inspected it, but I spotted a gray, nylon tent that looked promising. Rainclouds were looming overhead and things were being sold in large lots to try and move quickly before everything got soaked. The tent got lumped in with another and a musty sleeping bag but it still looked like I was going to get a bargain at $3. Then another bidder asked if the neighboring hammock was part of this lot. The auctioneer said "Sure, why not." Suddenly a bidding war erupted as everyone wanted the Mexican blanket hammock. Auction fever carried the price much higher than I was willing or able to pay with the cash in my purse.
The bidding crowd lumbered away to a collection of frog lawn ornaments and the winner bidder picked up her prize hammock, rolled it carefully and put it in the back of her truck. I was quick to notice that she left everything else out in the drizzle and mud. I caught up to her as she returned to the crowd. "So you were mostly interested in the hammock?" I asked. I got a nod. "Would you be willing to part with that gray tent?" The lady look at me and then back to the pile of camping gear. I was preparing to offer to ofset some of her cost.
"Sure, go ahead and take it," she said. Not only did I save the cost of the tent I'd bid on, but now I didn't have to deal with disposing of the junk that would have come with it. When we set it up at home it turned out to be a 3-room, 8 X 12 tent that doesn't even look used! Fritz wants to sleep in it tonight but I think I'll postpone buying the necessary tent stakes until the overnight temps go back up to the sixties. The moral of the story is Don't Be Afraid To Ask.