My earliest memories are framed around auctions in the old barn, grandma making pies and serving food made these Friday nights even more special.
I also remember the crowd, the regulars. Bill & Helen Holt held down one side of the front row, while the other aisle was anchored by Norwood & Audrey Beery. Charlie Stickley would have been there ready to battle Bill Holt for any antique tool that came across the block. You could count on Norleyn Senger being there and if there weren’t any appliances to buy, well that was alright, he was just as happy eating grandma’s home cooking. We called them regulars for a reason, they didn’t miss a sale. I bet you could count on one hand the auctions that Ray Davis has missed in the past 52 years.
But there were other regulars that really made Green Valley a special place to be. I’ve already mentioned Grandma Evans. I don’t remember when her declining health prevented her from being there in the food booth, but even now her recipes live on. My Great Uncle Chase, he was truly one of a kind, always with a great story to share. Uncle Jimmy helping hold stuff up, always with a quick smile. My two older brothers running tickets and carrying stuff out to the buyers. My younger sister, who like the rest of us was helping from the time she could walk. And of course Mom and Dad. Friday nights were family time-with a few guest. Sure it was a business, but it was more.
We were doing life together.
Farm families often farm together, we happened to be an auction and soon a book family. We learned life lessons (sometimes in front of the crowd), some humorous some not. We laughed together and sometimes cried together (who invited this crowd).
We grew up together.
Green Valley has changed a lot in 50+ years but Elizabeth and I have strived to do life on Friday’s with our kids from a young age up. While the size of the business growing presented some challenges for involvement, we found other avenues to plug in. Our kids are getting all grown up now and Friday life takes on a new face, but it continues. Sam has jumped in with both feet and become an auctioneer, while his wife Sierra does marketing among other duties. Mac is finishing up his degree at VCU next year and although he will be looking to stay in Richmond, he still makes an appearance now and then on Fridays and loves to rummage through the “stuff” when he can. Scotty just graduated high school and is working in a dental office with plans on continuing his education at Blue Ridge and VCU. He can still be found in the kitchen or helping with firearms on most Fridays. Ryan will be a junior at TAHS next year and between marching band and playing tennis he is limited in his participation. However you can still catch him helping in the kitchen whenever possible.
Life on Fridays isn’t always easy on a family, we’ve made our share of mistakes as did my mom and dad, but we are doing life together.
We have laughed and cried together (yes that crowd is still here) and we have grown together.
Hopefully we have created a place like the old barn, for regulars to feel like family.
You might remember I mentioned Ray Davis as a regular, now I have to smile when I see his son Brad walking through the building with his daughter Julie in tow and I know when Ray (still here every Friday), catches a glimpse of them he beams.
Work isn’t easy, life is messy and owning a business can be very frustrating, but doing life & work with my family-I couldn’t ask for more.