One of our favorite weekend pastimes out here in the country was attending auctions. They were often held right out on the farm under tents. The air reverberated with excitement as the bids rang out. This is the story of one of them.
The Lyrical Book
We were at an auction, and my guy was intrigued by a book to be sold that day. It was written in 1812, and he found the verse to be lyrical.
My guy is an engineer and more often drawn to the practical or the scientific, than the lyrical. I was intrigued that he was so mesmerized by this huge, leather-bound book. It had obviously been treasured by its readers for the last two centuries. So I went over and started reading the ancient words. They were indeed lyrical.
I wondered how long it took him to write this book of over 800 pages, 200 years ago, without the benefit of a keyboard or spell check or one-click Thesaurus. His prose had a lilt, an elegance. He expressed deep personal emotions as well as observations. He used such colorful descriptions of everyday events or objects that they seemed to take on new prisms of meaning or lead to concepts newly conceived.
I have rarely seen my guy so excited about an auction item. When it came time to bid, he did so carefully and often. And in the end, he was the proud new owner of that book.
It’s about half-read now, and it’s a joy to see my practical engineer creep off into a quiet, well-lit corner with his great big book, to enjoy his lyrical journey to the place where fantasy collides with reality.
P.S. We miss the old days of on-site auctions where neighbors stood side-by-side in friendly competition that could get heated over an old railroad tie or a dusty piece of pottery. Today’s online auctions miss the whole essence of the event. It’s convenient and efficient. It’s as wrong as choosing time on your phone over beer with the boys.