Hey Trader Mac

Hey Trader Mac,
I remember my first auction. Up in the hills north of Council Bluffs where I bought incidentally an end gate seeder. Dad and I went to the sale. We had just purchased an aluminum scoop shovel at the Minden hardware store for around $35. They were selling one for only a few bucks off of the flatbed full of shop stuff at this really old timer’s farm sale. If you can call them mountains farms. I asked Dad if we should buy another one cheap and he said, “I prefer to buy hand tools new.” I’ve never figured that one out. When they came to the seeder he nudged me in the shoulder and said, “Your up. You’d better get in there.” That’s the first time I remember that rush. (You never forget your first) That’s the last sale he went to with me. Willy and I attended the rest until we were tooled up. The rush was something I thought would fade after a few auctions. It never has.

Years later Dad sent me to buy a farm for him when he was staying down in Texas for the winters. You would think the effect would be quantitatively stronger given he never told me what to pay. It was. I wasn’t going to even bid since it was damn near where I thought he would pass on the price. The auctioneer (whom I suspect Dad had talked to) wasn’t able to get any more bids and he turned to me and said, “Well Phil, are we going to let them have it for that?” I was flabbergasted. I didn’t know what to say. It was a very small crowd and I didn’t know either of the two gentlemen that were bidding. I didn’t know what to do so I bid. One of the other men bid. So I bid again. The auctioneer cried a while but the man bid again. Now Dad may not of told me what to bid directly but he kind of let me know in a code. The only problem was this other gentleman was sitting on the bid that I thought was the upper limit according to dad’s code. The ball was in my court and everyone was looking at me. I closed my eyes, I hung my head, I bid ten dollars an acre more just in case Dad wanted it for “around that price”. I couldn’t face Dad if the farm went to someone else at Dad’s price.

Talk about a rush! That one was about a half million dollar rush. The most I had ever bid for anything. Maybe the most I ever will. That bid was the one that took it. It turns out I wasn’t the only one bidding for their dad. The only difference was that man’s dad had given him a solid upper limit and Dad had only said, “Whatever it brings you’re the one who will be paying for it. The rent is going to be a 4% return on my money. How much rent are you paying for Vic’s?” (That was the code) I quickly went home and gave Dad a call and told him that “the lightning had struck” and he now owned another farm. When I told him the price he seemed to chuckle a little. I asked him if that was alright he said it was and that he and Mom had better get packed and headed back up to Iowa.

I hadn’t slept for the three weeks since he had told me what he wanted me to do. I didn’t sleep for a few more weeks until he had convinced me that I hadn’t bankrupted him. He told me later that I was the first son he had sent to buy a farm that hadn’t bought it out from under him. Not to change the subject but this reply is getting too long to simply hide it “under the fold” in a comments section. I’ll go ahead and post it here as a reply but I’m also going to make it a new post where everybody can see it. Thanks for jarring (Or is it unjarring) my memory. When I spoke of the rush on that post (I’ll have to go back to find out which one) I had forgotten when this all started. Not to mention that six week “rush” from bidding for Dad. Now when I’m senile I can come back here and remember it again. If I remember where this is. Or who I am.

If I see you there and see you then, and you recognize me, tell me who the hell I am.

Cc

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