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May 20, 1981     Journal Opinion
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-00oing, going, gone e highest bidder is a tradition some say goes back to 500 B.C., when maidens were auctioned as brides. Nowadays, auctions are often the sell tobacco, livestock, furniture and real estate. At left, auctioneer to the next bidder at an estate sale held in Mercer's Auction g, W.Va. His assistant, Gary Muck, holds up one of many items they included a painting (selling price: $900) as well as inexpensive gadgets. Murrow was one of the auctioneers at the Smithsonian )f American Folklife in Washington, D.C. I Not auctions-they're booming average bid-caller whizzes along at about 340 words per minute. ) Today, just about everything can be and is sold at auction: personal property, industrial and farm machinery, horses, tobacco, fine art, new and used cars, livestock and commercial and industrial real estate. In fact, whether held in country barns or the rarefied atmosphere of international auction houses, bidding has become big business--so big that some retail antique dealers now feel threatened by the ever- increasing popularity of auction sales. Whatever their product, many professional auc- tioneers spend years prac- ticing a sales pitch, often acting as an apprentice or helper with an established auctioneer before beginning their own careers. One such self-made man is Edward "Ned" Murrow, 62, of Shepardstown, W.Va., who became a livestock auctioneer "late in life," at the age of 37, after years of raising cattle. "I remember spending about six months recording my own voice and playing it back until I got the sounds I wanted," Murrow said. "I had been to auctions all my life but I had never done one myself." When he started, there were only three people working a huge two-county region of West Virginia. Like other auctioneers, Murrow had one specialty--livestock --but later branched out to sell real estate, furniture, horses,.farm equipment and antique cars. "I can sell anything," Murrow says, "just give me the items, a platform, a microphone and a good crowd and I'll guarantee you some fast action. Once I sold a cemetery, already full, for about $100." Murrow was one of the auctioneers at the Smithsonian's 1980 Festival of American Folklife in Washington, D.C., where pitchmen, street criers and auctioneers recently demonstrated their con- siderable verbal skills and also shared trade secrets with Festival audiences. The best-kept secret, it seems, is that the auctioneer doesn't always know what he's saying. His chant, or roll, as it's called in the business, consists of the prices or bids mixed in with filler words, jokes and a few asides to the audience. The filler phrases, such as "will you give" and "do you want them at," as well as price series, become so routine that the auctioneer is not consciously aware of what he's saying at any given minute. "The chant js our basic tool of the trade," says Buford Evans, president and founder by Linda St. Thomas Smithsonian News Service Mun'a, dol'ha two, dol'ha ree, and a four, four, four, savin, eight-a, nine. Sold. American. It may be easy to recognize the tobacco auctioneer's chant; the problem is figuring out exactly what it all means. A literal translation of the above would go like this--"One, dollar two, dollar three, four, seven, eight, nine. Sold (to) American (Tobacco Co.)." Yet getting the message across is only half the auctioneer's work. Whether he's selling dishes or hogs, any good auctioneer is doing several things at once. He's announcing bids, listening for the next highest offer, sometimes watching for non-verbal signals and con- stantly assessing the mood of the crowd. The auctioneer's delivery, for example, is nearly as important as the content of his sales pitch. The tobacco auctioneer's spiel is fired off at a pace that is at least 10 times as fast as the average conversational speech. Besides moving along the day's sales, this speed helps create a bit of marketing excitement. (General auc- tioneer Victor Richardson is said to have set a record in New York with his chant of 888 words per minute. The At right, auctioneer Dan Baker and his ringman work a hog auction at Longmarsh Farm in North Carolina. Local farmers bid that day on special registered Yorkshire and Landraee hogs, normally used for breeding purposes. of th Nashville Auction delivered by the same auc- water while working cotu School and an old bid-caller tioneer, because he's ,always water,akesthevoiceraspy), himself. "Once you get the changing his tempo, volume, suck oifi lozenges, avoid the number brackets down pat, inflection and word tom- wind and wear scarves on cold then you worry about in- binations to suit the occasion, days. creasing your speed and What's not a secret about Most professional auc- chopping up the filler words, the profession is that it tioneers care for their voices Unfortunately, after just a few requires non-stop talking, the same way singers do, by weeks of practice, a good While the average auc- learning to talk "from down auctioneer learns to butcher tioneer's time on the platform here," Evans says. Using the English language." will be about two hours, some diaphragm muscles helps "There are as many dif- auctions may take up to 12 avoid straining the delicate ferent chanting techniques as hours--a herculean task for vocal cords. And like a good there are auctioneers. Some most vocal cords. To prevent singer, Evans and other are musical and others sound hoarseness or laryngitis, auctioneers practice this like machines," Evans says. many auctioneers rely on breathing until it becomes No chant is exactly the same breathing exercises, use a natural. as another, even when microphone, sip lukewarm (please turn to page 2A) Smithsonian News Service Photo by Amr da Dargan Ililll IIAIIPSNISl i i .Serving Over 48 Communities in Northern New Hampshire and Vermont May 20, 1981 'e's a special en- The next step is to add the top rail. Heretoo, use 16d nails dowel, secure with glue and a for youngsters, joists that will support the at mating points, t0d nail as shown in the detail like to climb, lunch in a or play in ' from lay out the area of the main 10' , then dig 6" 24" deep. the holes with a auger or a clam- you can rent is either will disturb tnd there will be less o Pour. Place a 3" the hole, set and fill around them Use a level on sides of each sure they are braces until the concrete 24 hem's. The Posts (parts 7 set at this time, wait so they can be established with No matter they are set in the main posts. deck. Start with the main ones (No. 2), attaching them with 16d nails. Add numbers 3 and 4, also with 16d nails. The deck boards can be square-edge pieces or tongue-and-groove material. Either way, each board is attached with three 16d nails at each bearing point. Final steps for the main part of the project are adding the sand-box boards and the The stringers for the ladder (No. 10) should be a strong material -- something like kiln-dried, straight-grain fir; the rungs can be a closet pole (actually a large diameter dowel), aluminum tubing or ordinary plumbing pipe. If drawing. If tubing or pipe, drill a h01e first, then use a sheet metal screw that is long enough to penetrate one wall of the material. The same thinking applies to the rungs (No. 8) of the vertical ladder. (-please turn to page 2A) Deck out your home with help of 00ors00a.Pac#00c The premier issue of "Great Possibilities," Georgia- Pacific's bright new quarterly magazine for do-it- yourselfers, offers a colorful parade of home-improving projects to start now for summer enjoyment. The Spring, 1981 edition of the magazine will be available April 19 -- May 3 free-of- charge at local Georgia- Pacific registered building materials dealers. to get friends involved in the project, too. An 8-page section on deck- The first edition of the full- color 32-page magazine focuses on decks. Three spectacular desigus illustrate how a deck can enhance ' outdoor living enjoyment with seating and barbecue areas for entertaining and family fun. Plans for these decks and others are offered along with (please turn to page 2A) SWING YOUR PARTNER--The Connecticut Valley Swingers show how it is done at the weekly Friday night gathering. Face your partner, do sa do Square dancing, U.S00/I. Ever since Americans got ladies face left. With the one you face, move forward and over the Puritan idea that dancing was the work of the Devil some 200 yearh ago, square dancing has enjoyed a steady popularity from New England to Florida to California. To the uninitiated, the language of a square dance and its caller may sound strange. Speak of circles, lines and grids, or waves and stars, pass right shoulders, then move to your own right while the other person moves to your left. Now, back up, passing the other person on your left until you are once again facing the same per- son." But all that would take too long so the caller simply says, "Face your partner, do sa do," and the dancers, who and somebody might think of already have mastered the geometry, or maybe even basic maneuver, football, but they're all part of automatically go through it the lingo of square dancing, while the caller's patter tells And the caller, who chants them the next command. or sings the directions for the Square dancing is made up dancers, is much like the of a series of these basics quarterback in football, says which, once they are learned, the Set in Order American become automatic, much like Square Dance Society. the accustomed motions you Probably everybody has heard the phrase, "Face your do sa do," and con- nected it to square dancing. To the square dancer, this basic instruction from the caller has a specific meaning. What the caller is telling the dancer is, "Men face forward, Your ad, this size, on page 1 of the Second Opinion is only $5.00 learn riding a bicycle or driving a car. Thus, the caller and the dancer go through a series of basics like "Cross trail through," "Bos the gnat," "Star through," "Bend the line" and many more in a smooth rhythm to music, usually a fiddle. There are numerous square dance groups in the Upper Valley area, such as Brad- ford's Connecticut Valley Swingers. Calling a square dance is an art form, says the Set in Order SUNNYSIDE PLAYSCHOOL On Main St., Newbury -- for 3 to 5 year olds Tuesday and Friday mornings -- 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. beginning May 2e. Call for enrollment: 802- 886-5657. American Square Dance AI Monty, who calls for Society, and for many callers many square dance groups in it is a full-time profession, this e:Today's callers spend yearsarea'(seehaSseparatebeen story).at it for 32 y rs in learning their trade Square dancing traces its and many hours of roots to a number of dances preparation for each hour brought by early American before the microphone," the settlers from Europe. but society says. (please turn tu page 2A) Local caller at it third of AI Monty" has been calling for 32 years. At age 14 he started in the traditional field with live music and at age 16 started a Western Square Dance group with the Barre Recreational Department. The first class had over 100 couples in it. Over the years, Monty has worked with many groups, ages 9-15, teen and adult groups. At the present time, he is calling for North Country Swingers, Newport; Con- necticut Valley Swingers, Bradford; Advanced "60", Barre; Green Mt. Steppers, Essex Junction and Central Vt. Squares, Montpelier. He is presently president of the Green Mt. Caller's Association and has been chairman for the Vermont Square Dance Festival for the past eight years and has called at all 31 of them. He has called at many festivals and weekend dances as far south as Florida and calls regularly for various clubs in New York, New England and Quebec. been AI Monty -00oing, going, gone e highest bidder is a tradition some say goes back to 500 B.C., when maidens were auctioned as brides. Nowadays, auctions are often the sell tobacco, livestock, furniture and real estate. At left, auctioneer to the next bidder at an estate sale held in Mercer's Auction g, W.Va. His assistant, Gary Muck, holds up one of many items they included a painting (selling price: $900) as well as inexpensive gadgets. Murrow was one of the auctioneers at the Smithsonian )f American Folklife in Washington, D.C. I Not auctions-they're booming average bid-caller whizzes along at about 340 words per minute. ) Today, just about everything can be and is sold at auction: personal property, industrial and farm machinery, horses, tobacco, fine art, new and used cars, livestock and commercial and industrial real estate. In fact, whether held in country barns or the rarefied atmosphere of international auction houses, bidding has become big business--so big that some retail antique dealers now feel threatened by the ever- increasing popularity of auction sales. Whatever their product, many professional auc- tioneers spend years prac- ticing a sales pitch, often acting as an apprentice or helper with an established auctioneer before beginning their own careers. One such self-made man is Edward "Ned" Murrow, 62, of Shepardstown, W.Va., who became a livestock auctioneer "late in life," at the age of 37, after years of raising cattle. "I remember spending about six months recording my own voice and playing it back until I got the sounds I wanted," Murrow said. "I had been to auctions all my life but I had never done one myself." When he started, there were only three people working a huge two-county region of West Virginia. Like other auctioneers, Murrow had one specialty--livestock --but later branched out to sell real estate, furniture, horses,.farm equipment and antique cars. "I can sell anything," Murrow says, "just give me the items, a platform, a microphone and a good crowd and I'll guarantee you some fast action. Once I sold a cemetery, already full, for about $100." Murrow was one of the auctioneers at the Smithsonian's 1980 Festival of American Folklife in Washington, D.C., where pitchmen, street criers and auctioneers recently demonstrated their con- siderable verbal skills and also shared trade secrets with Festival audiences. The best-kept secret, it seems, is that the auctioneer doesn't always know what he's saying. His chant, or roll, as it's called in the business, consists of the prices or bids mixed in with filler words, jokes and a few asides to the audience. The filler phrases, such as "will you give" and "do you want them at," as well as price series, become so routine that the auctioneer is not consciously aware of what he's saying at any given minute. "The chant js our basic tool of the trade," says Buford Evans, president and founder by Linda St. Thomas Smithsonian News Service Mun'a, dol'ha two, dol'ha ree, and a four, four, four, savin, eight-a, nine. Sold. American. It may be easy to recognize the tobacco auctioneer's chant; the problem is figuring out exactly what it all means. A literal translation of the above would go like this--"One, dollar two, dollar three, four, seven, eight, nine. Sold (to) American (Tobacco Co.)." Yet getting the message across is only half the auctioneer's work. Whether he's selling dishes or hogs, any good auctioneer is doing several things at once. He's announcing bids, listening for the next highest offer, sometimes watching for non-verbal signals and con- stantly assessing the mood of the crowd. The auctioneer's delivery, for example, is nearly as important as the content of his sales pitch. The tobacco auctioneer's spiel is fired off at a pace that is at least 10 times as fast as the average conversational speech. Besides moving along the day's sales, this speed helps create a bit of marketing excitement. (General auc- tioneer Victor Richardson is said to have set a record in New York with his chant of 888 words per minute. The At right, auctioneer Dan Baker and his ringman work a hog auction at Longmarsh Farm in North Carolina. Local farmers bid that day on special registered Yorkshire and Landraee hogs, normally used for breeding purposes. of th Nashville Auction delivered by the same auc- water while working cotu School and an old bid-caller tioneer, because he's ,always water,akesthevoiceraspy), himself. "Once you get the changing his tempo, volume, suck oifi lozenges, avoid the number brackets down pat, inflection and word tom- wind and wear scarves on cold then you worry about in- binations to suit the occasion, days. creasing your speed and What's not a secret about Most professional auc- chopping up the filler words, the profession is that it tioneers care for their voices Unfortunately, after just a few requires non-stop talking, the same way singers do, by weeks of practice, a good While the average auc- learning to talk "from down auctioneer learns to butcher tioneer's time on the platform here," Evans says. Using the English language." will be about two hours, some diaphragm muscles helps "There are as many dif- auctions may take up to 12 avoid straining the delicate ferent chanting techniques as hours--a herculean task for vocal cords. And like a good there are auctioneers. Some most vocal cords. To prevent singer, Evans and other are musical and others sound hoarseness or laryngitis, auctioneers practice this like machines," Evans says. many auctioneers rely on breathing until it becomes No chant is exactly the same breathing exercises, use a natural. as another, even when microphone, sip lukewarm (please turn to page 2A) Smithsonian News Service Photo by Amr da Dargan Ililll IIAIIPSNISl i i .Serving Over 48 Communities in Northern New Hampshire and Vermont May 20, 1981 'e's a special en- The next step is to add the top rail. Heretoo, use 16d nails dowel, secure with glue and a for youngsters, joists that will support the at mating points, t0d nail as shown in the detail like to climb, lunch in a or play in ' from lay out the area of the main 10' , then dig 6" 24" deep. the holes with a auger or a clam- you can rent is either will disturb tnd there will be less o Pour. Place a 3" the hole, set and fill around them Use a level on sides of each sure they are braces until the concrete 24 hem's. The Posts (parts 7 set at this time, wait so they can be established with No matter they are set in the main posts. deck. Start with the main ones (No. 2), attaching them with 16d nails. Add numbers 3 and 4, also with 16d nails. The deck boards can be square-edge pieces or tongue-and-groove material. Either way, each board is attached with three 16d nails at each bearing point. Final steps for the main part of the project are adding the sand-box boards and the The stringers for the ladder (No. 10) should be a strong material -- something like kiln-dried, straight-grain fir; the rungs can be a closet pole (actually a large diameter dowel), aluminum tubing or ordinary plumbing pipe. If drawing. If tubing or pipe, drill a h01e first, then use a sheet metal screw that is long enough to penetrate one wall of the material. The same thinking applies to the rungs (No. 8) of the vertical ladder. (-please turn to page 2A) Deck out your home with help of 00ors00a.Pac#00c The premier issue of "Great Possibilities," Georgia- Pacific's bright new quarterly magazine for do-it- yourselfers, offers a colorful parade of home-improving projects to start now for summer enjoyment. The Spring, 1981 edition of the magazine will be available April 19 -- May 3 free-of- charge at local Georgia- Pacific registered building materials dealers. to get friends involved in the project, too. An 8-page section on deck- The first edition of the full- color 32-page magazine focuses on decks. Three spectacular desigus illustrate how a deck can enhance ' outdoor living enjoyment with seating and barbecue areas for entertaining and family fun. Plans for these decks and others are offered along with (please turn to page 2A) SWING YOUR PARTNER--The Connecticut Valley Swingers show how it is done at the weekly Friday night gathering. Face your partner, do sa do Square dancing, U.S00/I. Ever since Americans got ladies face left. With the one you face, move forward and over the Puritan idea that dancing was the work of the Devil some 200 yearh ago, square dancing has enjoyed a steady popularity from New England to Florida to California. To the uninitiated, the language of a square dance and its caller may sound strange. Speak of circles, lines and grids, or waves and stars, pass right shoulders, then move to your own right while the other person moves to your left. Now, back up, passing the other person on your left until you are once again facing the same per- son." But all that would take too long so the caller simply says, "Face your partner, do sa do," and the dancers, who and somebody might think of already have mastered the geometry, or maybe even basic maneuver, football, but they're all part of automatically go through it the lingo of square dancing, while the caller's patter tells And the caller, who chants them the next command. or sings the directions for the Square dancing is made up dancers, is much like the of a series of these basics quarterback in football, says which, once they are learned, the Set in Order American become automatic, much like Square Dance Society. the accustomed motions you Probably everybody has heard the phrase, "Face your do sa do," and con- nected it to square dancing. To the square dancer, this basic instruction from the caller has a specific meaning. What the caller is telling the dancer is, "Men face forward, Your ad, this size, on page 1 of the Second Opinion is only $5.00 learn riding a bicycle or driving a car. Thus, the caller and the dancer go through a series of basics like "Cross trail through," "Bos the gnat," "Star through," "Bend the line" and many more in a smooth rhythm to music, usually a fiddle. There are numerous square dance groups in the Upper Valley area, such as Brad- ford's Connecticut Valley Swingers. Calling a square dance is an art form, says the Set in Order SUNNYSIDE PLAYSCHOOL On Main St., Newbury -- for 3 to 5 year olds Tuesday and Friday mornings -- 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. beginning May 2e. Call for enrollment: 802- 886-5657. American Square Dance AI Monty, who calls for Society, and for many callers many square dance groups in it is a full-time profession, this e:Today's callers spend yearsarea'(seehaSseparatebeen story).at it for 32 y rs in learning their trade Square dancing traces its and many hours of roots to a number of dances preparation for each hour brought by early American before the microphone," the settlers from Europe. but society says. (please turn tu page 2A) Local caller at it third of AI Monty" has been calling for 32 years. At age 14 he started in the traditional field with live music and at age 16 started a Western Square Dance group with the Barre Recreational Department. The first class had over 100 couples in it. Over the years, Monty has worked with many groups, ages 9-15, teen and adult groups. At the present time, he is calling for North Country Swingers, Newport; Con- necticut Valley Swingers, Bradford; Advanced "60", Barre; Green Mt. Steppers, Essex Junction and Central Vt. Squares, Montpelier. He is presently president of the Green Mt. Caller's Association and has been chairman for the Vermont Square Dance Festival for the past eight years and has called at all 31 of them. He has called at many festivals and weekend dances as far south as Florida and calls regularly for various clubs in New York, New England and Quebec. been AI Monty