4-H livestock auction a real party

Published 9:21 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

If you were not among those at the Hertford-Northampton 4-H Livestock Show Auction Wednesday night, you missed a party.

Thanks to my friend Joe Murray, of Joe Murray United Country Realty, my wife, Sherry, and I were among those there. Joe called me Wednesday morning and sang the praises of the event. He even said he already had tickets for us for the dinner served before the auction gets under way.

(Joe’s tickets, by the way, never materialized. Well, they did, but just about the time the caterer was packing up and getting ready to go home. Even so, I did not have to pay for my own groceries: Another friend, John Taylor, owner of John’s Seafood & Steaks in Murfreesboro, also had spare tickets and was more than happy to share and then to help me give Joe a hard time when the latter did eventually show up.)

As the auction got under way, Sherry and I knew some of the people in the stands. By the time it was over, we knew many, many more. I’ve remarked before on the friendly nature of the people who live in the area this newspaper covers, and those at the auction that night certainly did nothing to change my view of that.

As a “for instance,” Steven and Lori Burgess of Conway were sitting in the stands near where Sherry and I found seats.

One of the traditions of the auction is the sale of baked goods – mostly cakes – to raise money to help support the event. Those cakes are sold at points throughout the auction, at times in between the sale of the animals shown by the show’s stars.

One of the cakes auctioned was a 14-layer chocolate cake baked by Megan Larabee. Lori Burgess obviously intended to own that cake and some spirited bidding and $450 later, she did.

She immediately left the stands and claimed her prize. Then she brought it back up into the stands and promptly cut it and shared it with people seated nearby, including Sherry, who vowed it was the best thing she’d ever put in her mouth.

To make a long story short, Lori sent a second piece of the cake home with Sherry and Sherry has been making it last by eating one layer at a time. (This is a 14-layer cake, remember. The layers are about a sixteenth of an inch tall. Even so, Sherry makes delighted noises every time she takes a tiny bite.)

But I’m wandering away from my point, which was: Lori’s sharing her very expensive cake with somebody she didn’t even know is just typical of the people of this area.

Watching an auction is more fun than watching television any day of the week. And watching an auction where friends are bidding against each other to benefit a good cause is even more fun than most.

Lori was sitting in the row just above where Steven was sitting when she bought the $450 cake, and when auctioneer Parker Phillips gaveled the cake sold, Steven looked back over his shoulder and said, “Who bought that?”

Richard Vaughan of Rich & Rich Auctioneers in Rich Square was one of the more active bidders at the event, as was my friend Ray Felton of Metal Tech of Murfreesboro.

The show and auction happen every year about this time. My advice to you is: Put it on your calendar and plan to come be a part of it next year. I can promise you’ll have a good time. If you’ve been here a long time, I’m guessing you’ll find yourself among old friends. If you haven’t, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll leave with some new ones.

And, heck, you might even buy a cake, assuming it isn’t one Lori Burgess has her eye on.

David Sullens is president of Roanoke-Chowan Publications LLC and publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald and the Gates County Index.