I’ve got a case of the birdhouse blues

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I’m not one known to be silent. I’m also not known for my money.

That’s probably why I’ve never found much appeal in silent auctions.

Sure, I’ve always enjoyed looking at items up for sale, but nothing about signing my name to a piece of paper and hoping for the bid has been appealing.

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I went to a real auction one time for cattle. The intensity of that environment almost made me want to throw up my sign and fight for the cow.

Fortunately, my senses overcame that urge.

But last week, I found myself at yet another silent auction at the Johnson Center for the Arts Christmas Tree Extravaganza.

My co-worker and I went down to take a few early photographs and check out Sister Schubert’s cookbooks she was signing.

This co-worker always says not to use people’s real names when you mention them in your columns, so I guess I’ll keep her anonymous. But, to give you a clue, she’s taller, got curly hair and just slightly older than I am.

While we were looking at the Christmas trees displayed in the arts center, she thought it was a good idea to go check out the items up for auction in the Studio across the street.

There were all kinds of interesting items up for grabs — paintings, gift baskets, even weekend vacations. My curly-headed companion had her eyes on a Mose T. painting in the auction, and she decided to go ahead and place the minimum bid.

“I really hope I get this painting. I’ve always wanted one of them,” she told me. “But, I don’t think I’ll get it.”

I had no intentions of doing the same, but my mere admiration of an item sure got her going.

“You should place a bid, Holli. You won’t get it.”

So I thought, ‘Why not?’

After all, I could just get the ball rolling, and if all else fails, I’d planned to give the birdhouse to my mom for Christmas. She’s always had an interest in feeding them for some reason.

So we placed our bids and decided we would return once the event actually began a few hours later.

Notepad in my hand and camera in hers, we made our entrance. Taking a quick glance across the room, I had full confidence that we had both been outbid by people with more giving hearts — and much heftier pocketbooks.

I walked up to my co-worker’s painting, and she had been outbid by around $70. But my birdhouse bid was nearly blank with only my measly bid there for the giving.

I started to panic a little. After all, I had much bigger plans for my mother’s Christmas gift. She didn’t need a birdhouse, even though it was a pretty piece of artwork.

So I started talking to some of those I was certain had a thing for birdhouses…or at least a soft spot in their hearts for me.

But with just 20 minutes left in the auction, that ball I got rolling still wasn’t moving at all. I left with certainty there would be a birdhouse under my mom’s Christmas tree this year.

I went home, did a little math and figured out some ways to fork over my check when I got that phone call I just knew I’d be getting sometime the next day.

I was a little upset I had decided to bid on this art because even though it was beautiful and my mom would love it, I wasn’t ready to start my Christmas shopping just yet. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.

So when my phone didn’t ring, I got a little antsy. Turns out, I did get outbid — not by one of the people I tried to talk into birdhouse shopping but someone who must of genuinely wanted it.

After all that fuss of not wanting to spend money, I was disappointed that I would be keeping my bank account in order.

Now I’m just left with no Christmas present, $65 dollars and worst of all, the birdhouse blues.

Holli is the news editor at The Messenger. She can be reached at 670-6313.