A CHANGE OF VALUES
911 changed the
whole world forever. And in the auction business, we are constantly
reminded of that.
In the affluent
times (70s, 80s & 90s), everyone who was anyone collected something.....
remember coming to an auction or even at a dinner party when someone asked you,
"What do YOU collect?" In the mid-seventies, we were young
and had no idea how society thought on this, we were invited to a buffet
lunch after church by the goodly church people (would you believe?) and
after viewing the beautiful china and silver in their home, was questioned, "What do you
collect, dear?"......I answered honestly, "Sobey's dishes" (You know, the
ones we used to get for a dollar each when we bought $5.00 worth of grub).
Can you imagine the looks I got!!!! (We left that church soon
perhaps a better word for it! Many houses we have gone into contained
literally thousands of useless "things". Little old ladies just bought
and bought everything and anything....the doctors, lawyers and Indian Chiefs
had to outdo each other.,,,even the common Joe was a big buyer.
Much of this
can be attributed to the lack of stuff for many years--during the
depression, then the clamp in the wartime. With so many men back after
1945, it was just a matter of getting a job. And then a bit of a
depression in the late 50's put a freeze on everything, so, when the
money started rolling in again, "stuff" became a status quo
thing.....the more stuff you possessed, the better off you
were--particularly antiques! They were prestigious!
People just kept
buying and buying for years.....auctions flourished, to say the least!
antique shops were hopping!
Then came 911.
The change was not striking....it took years.
began to get calls from people with big collections saying they were selling
out all but a few things. None of them really needed the money.
They had just come to the conclusion that "things" were not that important.
Most of them spent the money making others happy--like giving their
grandchildren a trip to Disneyland, buying their daughter a Dishwasher or
giving their son a Deed to the piece of land he's always wanted but could
not afford.....just things to improve the quality of life for someone else.
They spent the money as if it was their last day alive and they just wanted
to do some good for somebody!
Along with that,
many people did not want to hang onto furniture from "before 911", that
related to those affluent times and they no longer wanted any remembrance of
those times....the average Victorian piece of furniture
died! (The high-end stuff held its own, but that's a different
Before 911, a
collection of Royal Doultons consisted of 200 figurines plus; now a
collection is around 10 to 15. And they don't "love" them anymore;
they "like" them.
The change has
not been good for our business, but it is nice to see people become real.
On FOXNC on TV,
there's an hour program every day at 6 pm called "Glenn Beck" (Channel 507
on Bell Aliant Satellite). He used to be on CNN, now he's with Fox
where all the good programs are (including O'Reilley, Greta & Hannity)....you
don't get this Fox Station with the regular package on Bell
Satellite--funny, because FOX is rated higher than CNN, but that's
politics!!! And we always get the best in Canada last! We found
CNN biased and boring. Now on Fox we are getting diverse opinions,
complete and more extensive coverage on news items and most interesting
programs. Having this station is well worth it--Bell Aliant Satellite
charges an extra $2.00 per month. I don't believe it comes with the
package on Cable either, but it is available for a few dollars more.
Don't get confused though--there's 5 or 6 different Fox Stations--this is
Fox News Network (24 hours News)....Anyway, Glenn Beck started this new
thing called "912 Project" on his hour program. You can pick up the
information on the Web....but the jest of it is that on 910--everything was
for self; then 911 - catastrophe; and then on 912 everybody came together as
one--helping each other. This is basically a call for people of like
mind to get together to stand up for themselves...there's strength in
numbers! ....because now the government (whether in US or Canada) is not
standing up for us.
Glenn calls for
a continuation of 912. I am suggesting that many people in the
auction/antique world have already started to make that change and never
went back. Their lives have changed forever....family and friends are
more important now that "stuff". "Self" is taking second
place! There's a long way to go, but this is a good start!
Be sure to check out "912 Project" on the Glenn Beck show.
Australian Gun Law Update
Here’s a thought to warm some of your hearts
From: Ed Chenel, A
police officer in Australia
Hi, I thought you all would like to see the now available data from Down
Under. It has now been one year (12 months) since gun owners in
Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to
be destroyed by our own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers
more than $500 million dollars.
The first year results are now available: -
Australia-wide, homicides are up
Australia-wide, assaults are up
Australia-wide, armed robberies
are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent);
In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300
percent as compared with the last one-year period when private ownership of
a firearm was legal.
(NB: the law-abiding citizens did turn in their personal firearms, the
criminal element did not and thus criminals in Australia still possess their
While data for the 25 years preceding the confiscation of privately owned
guns showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has
changed drastically upward in the past 12 months as criminals now are
assured their victims will be unarmed.
There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the
elderly, while the resident is at home.
Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has
decreased after such monumental effort and expense was expended in
‘successfully ridding Australian society of guns.’
This story of well intentioned government intervention in the rights of
lawful individuals to own and possess firearms won’t be seen in the either
the Canadian or American mainstream media or on the evening news.
If President Obama advocates a similar confiscation in the US, there will
not be any reporting any of this to you.
But, the Australian experience speaks for itself. Guns in the hands of
honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws affect
only the law-abiding citizens.
Canadians and Americans may want to take note before it’s too late!
.....................another report we recently received is that the
lowest criminal rate in North America is in the State of Texas--the only
place in North America where a person is allowed to pack a pistol and there
people are often seen right in the city wearing holster and pistol.....does
that make a statement?
MOST AUCTION-GOERS KNOW THE BABCOOKES FROM ANTIGONISH WHO
OFTEN ATTEND THE AUCTIONS. THIS IS THEIR "LITTLE GIRL" (THE
FIREFIGHTER) WHO LIVES IN THE
VALLEY.....THANKS, KATHY, FOR KEEPING US ALL A LITTLE
DANA'S FIRST DEER
Dec 7th, 2008)
For almost a year, Dana Fraser, (staff) has been taking courses and tests
now required to obtain a Firearms Acquisition Permit and License for Hunting
in the Province of Nova Scotia and two weeks ago, he just reached the
required age of 18. So he was on the prowl.
Yesterday, the last day of deer season,
Dana bagged a large 7-point Buck. He admitted he's never had such a "rush"
as when the big deer came out in front of him in the woods and he tried to
steady the gun in his shaking hands to fire the shot. Only a hunter
can understand what he's talking about here.
You can't imagine this kid's excitement!
Congratulations Dana on your First!
THE HERMIT OF GULLY LAKE
Probably most of you have read the book published in
June 2006 about Willard MacDonald (or as they called him "Kitchener" MacDonald). ....but
we all knew him as "Willard" the Hermit of Gully Lake.
My take on the story is somewhat different for we knew
the MacDonald family well.
When I was in my teens, Jessie (Willard's mother) lived
across the street from us up on Beaches Road in Pictou. She was a
beautiful person, not just her personality, but physically--she was in
her 70's then & her face was clear baby pink & she didn't have a wrinkle.
She was a lovely lady altogether and I learned much from her. To my
knowledge, she never spoke a bad word about anybody. She would not lie
to people, but if she knew the truth was going to hurt to the point of
causing a problem, she would not render a comment or an answer.
She was a positive thinking lady and always saw the good in everyone.
And she was a very Godly lady.
But the story goes back a lot further than this....my
brother, Alden, became close friends with Ronnie (Willard's brother--or
nephew as the books says). I know nothing about that; but I do know
that Jessie and Fin (Willard's parents) dearly loved Ronnie.
Unfortunately, the book says he was considered a shame unto them--that is
not true for he was the apple of their eyes!
Now to get on with names, "Fiddlefoot", as we all called
him, was Willard's father and why they ever called him Howard all through the
book beats me, for as long as I can remember, Jessie called him "Fin", short
for Findlay. His full name was either Findlay Howard MacDonald or
Howard Findlay MacDonald--whichever, but to everyone, he was known as
Findlay or "Fiddlefoot".
Now "Fiddlefoot" was a very fine concert violinist and
when he was in the States, he played in the Boston Symphony Orchestra
(although the book says he didn't). Mrs. MacDonald told that to me
with her own mouth. And Fin told my brother, Alden, the same thing. That is
why they lived in Summerville for he was able to board the elevated railway
from there to get into the City in short time for work at the Orchestra.
The MacDonald family came back here from the States in
the "hungry 30's". At one point, it was mentioned to my brother that
they felt they should return here since war was imminent and Willard would
surely have to go to war in the States. At that time (before the war
and a few years into the war), Canada advocated its abstinence from conscription....and
thus Jessie & Fin felt Canada would be the better place to reside then since they were against killing
at all costs.
Later, of course, Canada did conscript soldiers and that is how the whole
basis for this story occurred when Willard was conscripted and jumped the
train that carried the soldiers off to war and headed for the hills instead. He
was a fugitive and had to hide. Had he been found in those times, he
would probably have been shot.
The book implies that Fin (Willard's Father) was not
much of a breadwinner, in fact even indicates that he was a lazy man.
However, the fact is that he knew no other trade except professionally
playing the violin & working with violins. And so he did all that he
could to earn a living--he made and repaired violins....I can still picture
that sign at the end of their lane at the West end of Pictou. "Violins Repaired"
(then they lived out in a little one & a half story house very near to
the Causeway exit from the Rotary....Ben Humphrey's house was right there
where the Hardware Store is now, then MacDonald's little place and then the
old stone Tyrol Inn, now the site of Rollie MacDonald's immense
place). Things got a bit better in the 40's but in the mid 50's in
Pictou County, you couldn't buy a job...everybody was hurting. And
certainly nobody was having violins repaired. So Fiddlefoot did the
next best thing he could--he packed up his little pouch of files every day
and peddled away to town on his bike and went door-to-door sharpening knives
and scissors for 10 to 25 cents apiece....it was long and tedious, but put
some bread on
When Willard realized his parents were so strapped for
money in the 50's, my brother remembers they got a message for his father to
ask someone to take a
truck out to to meet him at such-and-such a point in the country to pick up pelts. Alden said Willard had trapped all winter
and gave his father a large truckload full of mink, beaver and muskrat pelts
which took in thousands of dollars which sure was big money in those days. And that went on
every spring as long as Alden could remember. So neither was Willard a lazy man or uncaring of his
family, for he provided for them liberally for several years. Not only that, but
after Willard jumped the train and went to the woods in the 40's, he would slip back home for 4
or 5 days every year when the weather got fine and worked the ground &
planted a huge vegetable garden for his folks and then came back in the fall
to harvest same. These visits were kept secret.
As I mentioned earlier, my brother, Alden, and
Ronnie (Willard's brother) were close friends since Grade 7. My
brother played the guitar and Ronnie played the violin (which he, of course,
learned from his father "Fiddlefoot"). That, in fact, was the
start of a little band that Ronnie & Alden formed for playing at the local
dances when they were in their late teens.
Often Alden went out to Ronnie's place after
school where he and Ronnie played their instruments together. Alden was intrigued
with the MacDonalds. They were very knowledgeable people - both Fin
and Jessie. Alden said he learned much from them.
It was there at the MacDonald home that Alden met
Willard on several occasions when he came home to see his folks and do the
gardens for them. Usually, he said, when Willard came home, no one
knew he was coming (even though the war was over then, he was still
considered a deserter)--the way it was, the folks would just wake up some morning and
Willard would be out there
working the garden or fixing something for them. He left the same
way. Alden recalls one time walking into the house when Willard did
not know he was there and Willard was playing away on a bagpipe chanter--and
very good music, too. Alden said Willard was very distant in those times
(he attributed that to Willard living in the woods by himself), but he was very
One time when they were still of school years,
Alden and Ronnie hitchhiked out to Diamond and they walked up the old road
to MacIntosh Lake where they fished for the day. I believe Alden said
Willard made his abode around MacIntosh Lake in those early times and then
later at Gully Lake. They never saw Willard at all going in or at the
lake. Late in the afternoon, they though they'd better get going down
the old road to Diamond and get on their way home before dark. Although they
hadn't seen Willard, he obviously had seen them earlier and though he'd have
supper ready for them on the way out. He met them on the old road and
invited them over to the cabin. There Alden said he had the most
fantastic meal he had ever eaten. It consisted of venison and
vegetables of all sorts, but nothing he had ever seen before. When
asked, Willard said they were wild vegetables that grew in the earth and
Alden said they were delicious, but he never saw them again in his whole
lifetime. Along with that he had fresh sourdough bannock ready for
them, and, of course, cold spring water to drink.
Over the years, Alden came across Willard many
times. Once he recalls he came into the old Saturday night dance at
West Branch where Ronnie and Alden were playing the music for the dance.
Willard just sat there in the corner and never bothered anyone, just
listening to the music. However, some young thing went over and tried
to play up to Willard. Her boyfriend noticed this and came over to
pick a fight with Willard. Other guys joined in. That episode
ended very fast. Alden recalls that within 3 to 5 minutes, Willard
walked out of the hall and rode away on his bike. Every other male in
the place, except the band members, were lying on the floor trying to pull
themselves back together again. He had taken on the whole hall by himself!
As Alden says, "Willard was one able lad in his day!"
And so the saga has continued for over 5 decades.
When Donnie and I were just young, Jessie,
Willard's mother, moved into the little house across from us on Beaches
Road. Fin was deceased by then. Once a month, Jessie would pay
us to take her out on a Sunday afternoon to see Willard. She must of had some
way of letting him know when she was coming. We would park on the main
road just past Earltown and she would walk up an old road by herself, but
sometimes we caught sight of Willard meeting her on the lane and always
walking her back to the edge of the woods before darkness set in. He
would wait up there and watch from between the trees until she got into the
car. Jessie took a little bag of things out to him every time she
Later, our nephew, Duane, who is an adamant
hunter, came across Willard in his travels and began taking a 50 lb bag of
flour out to him every fall. On one of those occasions, Willard asked
him into the cabin for some bannock. The sourdough bannock was make right on
top of the old stove--no pan. Willard just wiped the worst off the
stove and put the dough right on top to cook it. That's when Willard
was getting old. To my knowledge,
Duane did not have any of the bannock. But he recalls Willard with great admiration
that he could resist the world all that time and be his own person.
The last time that Duane took out a bag of flour was the fall before Willard
died. At that time Willard told Duane that that was the last bag of
flour that he would be needing. A couple months late, he found out
Note: There is now
a Movie-Documentary out now about Willard. We saw it at the theatre in
New Glasgow on 25th of November 2007 and now they are occasionally showing
it on television....It is exceptional....very accurate
and had several short video clips of Willard.....it is a true to life thing.
Don't miss it!
YARD SALE CAN BE BAD FOR
SELLER; GOOD FOR BUYER
Quite recently in the States at a yard
sale, a lady put out a still life painting she had hanging around the house
& ticketed it at $10.00.
It was snatched up by someone with a bit of knowledge who consigned it to a
quality auction where it sold for $52,000.00.
Another interesting recent
An American lady was willed various items from her mother's home including a
painting which the local art gallery told her could fetch several thousand
dollars. She consigned that into a quality auction hoping to get
enough money to offset her son's college tuition. The lady and her
husband were painting a closet while watching the auction online and when
their painting reached $30,000.00, the husband fell off the stepladder, but
when the hammer fell at $620,000.00, they both fell back in shock. It
is expected the painting was by the mid 17th Century Italian Painter, Pier
Francesco Mola (although unsigned), but apparently 16 bidders from around
the world must have identified it.
THE FACTS OF LIFE IN A NUTSHELL
The following is an interesting e-mail
received by us:
"If they know of him at all, many folks think Ben Stein is just a quirky
actor/comedian who talks in a monotone. He's also a very intelligent
attorney who knows how to put ideas and words together in such a way as to
sway juries and make people think clearly.
The following was written by Ben Stein and
recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary:
'Herewith at this happy time of year,
a few confessions from my beating heart: I have no freaking clue who Nick
and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I
am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter I often ask the checkers at the
grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either.
Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they
have broken up? Why are they so important?
I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either,
and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife.
Am I going to be called before a Senate
committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who
Nick and Jessica are.
If this is what it means to be no longer
young. It's not so bad.
I am a Jew, and every single one of my
ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when
people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't
feel threatened. I don' t feel discriminated against. That's what they are:
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say,
"Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting
ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that
we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It
doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key
intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche,
it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for
being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for
being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of
getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came
from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the
Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where
did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't
allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a
sign that I'm getting old, too.
But there are a lot of us who are wondering
where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one
another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be
a joke; it's not funny, it's
intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on
the Early Show and Jane Clayson after Katrina asked her "How could
God let something like this Happen?" Anne Graham gave an
extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is
deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling
God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out
of our lives.
And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can
we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He
leave us alone?"
In light of recent events...terrorists
attack, school shootings, etc. I
think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare complained she didn't want
prayer in our schools, and we said OK
Then someone said you better not read the
Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal,
and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't
spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities
would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son
committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about
and we said OK.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children
have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't
bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and
hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with
"WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."
Funny how simple it is for people to trash
God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.
Funny how we believe what the newspapers
say, but question what the Bible says.
Funny how you can send 'jokes' through
e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages
regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.
Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene
articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is
suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing?
Funny how when you forward this message,
you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure
what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what
other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
May I present my own personal
viewpoint here too, at least on a few of the subjects:
I spring from a large family of Scottish
descent--stubborn and bull-headed people who are very opinionated....two characteristics that get people into a lot of trouble. Did you
know that years ago when farmers had a bull that would get unruly, every
spring they took him out and tied him between two trees and gave him a few
good wacks--he would be good as gold for another year or so and then began
to get unruly again. Well, basically, I was a good little girl,
but just like some of those old bulls, got unruly now and again and needed a
good tanning to get straightened out. (it was called a spanking when
you were under 5 and a tanning if you were over 5). Any spankings or
tannings I ever got never left any marks on my body, but certainly left
lasting memories to the effect that when someone does something bad, they
will suffer consequences. If that is not taught to a child when they
are young, they are going to learn it the hard way when they get older and
some times by way of jail or death. Also, I have learned from
the many young people that have worked for us over the last 30 years that
verbal scoldings and groundings are a laugh...we hear it all!!!
Our nephew, Glynn, was only about 7 or 8
years old when the Pictou Causeway was being constructed. Although he
lived well over a mile from the site, the attraction was such that from the
time he got up in the morning until construction had ended at night, he
spent his time right out where they were dumping the fill, in the way of
their work and certainly in great danger (he could not even swim). His
father would search all over Town and each time tracked him down to the
Causeway site. Glynn was warned never to go there again and disobeyed
for the third time after which time my brother took charge and tanned him good. The
boy never went back to the site and it was only the licking that kept him
away. Glynn is now in his 40's and has since thanked his father
for "caring enough to discipline him" for his admits now that it was
so dangerous there that he does not believe he would be alive today had he
continued to frequent the causeway site. And it was only because he
was scared of getting another good tanning that he ceased his visits to the
Say what you will about the Ten
Commandments, I can honestly say that it was the main things that kept me
straight when I was young. In the late 40's and early 50's there
were no TVs around Pictou and the main form of entertainment was the
telephone. Our telephone hung at the end of the Sofa--the old kind
that you just picked it up and gave the operator the number you wanted.
Ours was 443....nobody had more than 3 digits then. The phone was used
constantly. In those times, the Micmacs came across the Harbour in the
old Hochelaga Ferry and went from door-to-door selling their wares--baskets
galour and sometimes sparkly mottos, too. My father had purchased one
of these mottos-- bright blue with the Ten Commandments in Silver sparkles.
He strategically placed that directly above the telephone where one couldn't
use the telephone without seeing it. Consciously and unconsciously,
everybody in the house read it over and over as they used the telephone.
As a tiny little thing, when I got up on Father's knee there on the sofa, I
would ask him the meaning of each commandment and when we got to the
adultery one, he made it simple for a child and said, "you cannot sleep with
anyone until you get married to him" and then he'd add, "Daddy would be very
hurt if you did that".....you know, it left such a lasting impression, even
in my teenage years when I could have strayed, the motto was so burnt
into my memory that it came before any wide passions. Likewise with the other
Regarding Christmas, I know it has become
very commercial, but before a long hard winter, it's so nice just to enjoy a
carefree couple days with all the decoration and carols and the manger
scenes depicting the real reason for it all, making an apple pie for the
little old lady down the road because you want to, not because you feel
obligated; and just forgetting about all the cares and worries for a
season......nobody will ever erase my memories of Christmas Eve with the
smell of turkey roasting in the oven & stoking the old kitchen stove with
coal to keep it hot enough to steam the big 15-lb plum pudding from midday
to midnight, mother scurrying about to get everything wrapped and under the
tree and my father loading the woodbox (as he sang the old songs)--so he
could enjoy the whole Christmas Day without having that chore to do....it's
really the only time he had a totally free day in the year.
Just the words "Merry Christmas" change the atmosphere--it's a time of love
and hope and joy--those two words can and have broken the ice between the
harshest of enemies. Even without a flake of snow on the ground this
year, after Donnie was in bed and I was alone downstairs, I looked out the
window late Christmas Eve and could visualize a fresh layer of snow with the coloured
lights from the Christmas Tree reflecting on it. I could even hear
"Oh, Holy Night" being beautifully sung by my old School Teacher, Jim
Sears.....it's all memories and new ones are being added each year-- there's
just something so special about Christmastime that I cannot put it
into words exactly, sort of like one of the old songs from the 60's said,
"there's a kind of a hush all over the world tonight"....that's how I see
Christmas and nobody will ever take that away from me! Those who have
never experienced it don't know what they are missing! And we have a
Menorah here, too--it's all part of the Big Package the way I see it!