An Auctioneer’s Song - Carolina Country

An Auctioneer’s Song

An Auctioneer’s Song

I grew up in a North Carolina coastal town. My daddy was a rural mail carrier that everyone loved. Most folks would say my daddy never met a stranger. He rose early each day to deliver the mail. In the afternoons, he would travel to auction tobacco for a Whiteville warehouse.

One of my favorite memories of my handsome dad is tagging along with him to the tobacco market. Daddy would lift me onto a bale of tobacco where I was instructed to stay put until he finished his second job.

Daddy attended two schools to learn the tricks of his trade. This lovely linguistic lost art of auctioneers would begin with a sing-song melody that made no sense to me. The bid began $75 ... five, five … chatter, chatter … sold to “R.J. Reynolds.”

The secret dialogue between my dad and the buyers of raised hands, winks or nods was music to my ears.

As I sat high upon my bale of tobacco, my view held the most glorious smells of sweet tobacco leaves, boiled peanuts and a father to be proud of. Watching my dad go into this beautiful dance-like state of waving hands and singing numbers amazed me.

Although each auctioneer’s psychology and deliverance is different, I felt my daddy’s version was unique. I will forever hold this memory close to my heart.

Cathy Milligan, Ocean Isle Beach, a member of Brunswick Electric

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