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The Better Side: A Chinese Auction
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Have you ever been to a Chinese auction? Well, last Saturday night, my wife and I, along with about 150 of our active-adult neighbors, attended our first one here at Province.
If you have never been to this sort of an auction, I will attempt to describe how it works: First, everyone that was bidding had to supply a gift worth at least five dollars. Next, we had to rob our piggy bank of the quarters that we normally donate to the local casino. Then, at the entrance to our town center, we were issued a wooden paddle with large black numbers on one face.
Once inside, we took a seat at a table with friends that we play Mexican Train with on Wednesday nights. This is a domino game, and unfortunately, I don’t have enough space in this column to explain how to play Mexican Train -- especially since the rules keep changing every week, depending on who is playing -- but that’s a whole story in itself.
We did arrive early enough to view some of the items for auction, and any doubts as to why I might have been persuaded to attend such a strange event were erased when I spotted no less than six bottles of wine with my name
To start things off, our Activities Director held up an item for bid and informed us if it was to be a 1-, 2-, or 3-quarter bid. If the item was something that we wanted to bid on, we had to drop the necessary quarters into a bucket sitting in the middle of the table and simultaneously raise our numbered paddles in the air. An auctioneer then started calling out the numbers on the paddles and at the sound of a gong, the person with that particular number won the prize. Sound complicated? It was actually easier to play than it is for me to explain the game.
Anyway, the bidding went kind of like this: A candleholder for bid gave a meager showing of seven paddles in the air. However, a bottle of wine went up for bid and suddenly one hundred and ten paddles shot up. This is a sure sign that the residents here would rather get a glow from a glass of wine than from a candle.
After a night of heavy bidding, my wife and I took home a Canadian calendar, a set of knives, a silver-plated salad set, bookmarker pens, and a sunflower napkin holder. In all, these five-dollar items probably cost us seventy-five dollars. But for my money, that’s a better return for me than a night at the casino.
It seems the most popular item that night, was something called body butter … ? I was afraid to ask. But, it probably went well with the bottles of wine that I didn’t win.
Kent Richards is a Maricopa resident and a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. For previous articles from “The Better Side,” visit www.welcometoseniorhood.com.