One of my favorites involves our Saturday tradition of going to the nearby livestock auction, or the sale as we call it. This was part of Grandpa's Saturday routine for as far back as I can remember. He would meet some other farmers for lunch and then watch the sale for an hour or so. My brother tagged along from a young age and always wanted to be just like Grandpa. I started attending on a more regular basis in high school.
The sale was more than just the auctioning of cattle and other livestock. It was a time to come together as an agricultural community. Our cows like routine and so do we, and this was a weekend staple. It was a fun way to share our love of cattle and farming, as well as catch up with others at the sale.
Over the last few years, Grandpa's visits to the sale became more and more infrequent, except when I was home and would take him. The last time we went together he was hesitant to go. He said nobody would know him or care that he was there. He was nearing his 93rd birthday and had been part of this community for his entire life. As we were leaving the sale, the auctioneer said, "Goodbye Mr. Johnson!" over the loud speaker. This simple gesture meant the world to a 92-year-old farmer who felt like he was too old to be remembered or involved in anything anymore. It also meant the world to me.
The sale barn created memories for many people in our community, and this was ever so evident when the auctioneer passed away in November of this year. The outpouring of support is what I love about small towns. I am still so thankful for Ron's (the auctioneer) kindness toward Grandpa that day and for our town.
Without realizing it, Grandpa set quite the example for my brother and me and he is the reason we are both involved in farming today. Whether we were helping with hay, feeding cows, walking show cows and getting ready for the next show or anything else, he was always willing to help.
These days, I'm creating my own memories at the sale barn in Indiana. It's 2,000 miles and a world away from the sale barn back home, but I know Grandpa is still there with me.
What are your favorite family memories?