Eclectic, Alabama. That’s a real place. I don’t remember there being anything like a gas station or flea market that would make it look like a town. I’ve only been there once and that was to go to the Chicken Auction. That’s the only thing I remember about Eclectic.
After driving from Tallassee, AL a good little ways out in the woods, you came upon a hand painted sign that read Chicken Auction. We went once, Dad, Lindsay and me. It was basically a chicken house with boat carpet covering the dirt floors. But They had really put some thought into decorating. There were automobile bench seats bolted to the ground and a concession stand in the back. The floors were slightlty sloped to give it a theater feel. There were probably close to seventy people there that night.
The auctioneer sat in a homemade stand that, if you used a bit of imagination, looked like a pulpit, complete with a microphone and Peavey speaker left over from the 70s. In fact the whole operation sort of reminded me of a church. In front of the pulpit people stood in a line to sell their chickens, rabbits, guineas, and exotic birds. They even sold eggs. The line strecthed outside through a door in the side of the building.
The auctioneer wore overalls and a collared white shirt. He had snow white hair peaking from underneath his baseball cap. He only took the hat off during the opening prayer in which he prayed for the evening’s proceedings and for several sick parishoners who couldn’t be there that night. Then he started in on anouncements. He had the Old Southern accent, where the letter ‘R’ is only pronounced at the beginning of a word.
“This Satu’d’y is the Confederate Flag Parade in Wetumpka. Please come out and bring yow’uh Confederate Flag. If you do not have a Confederate Flag, they’uh will be a venduh they’uh way’uh you can pu’chase one.”
After these preliminaries were out of the way, he began to call each person by name and they would step up and present their merchandise.
“Jerry Dale, you have a nice Banty Trio here. Who’ll give me $15?.”
From then on, his auctioneering abilities began to come through, and he went from talking slow, even for a Southerner, to a rapid machine gun speed of syllables. I could still understand him though.
Dad and I were having a great time and we almost went to the concession stand and bought some popcorn. You get caught up in the moment when you’re enjoying yourself. I always thought that the chicken auction would have been a great place to take angirknout on a date. It was a cultural experience tonsay the least, and Dad and I were were taking it in. My sister, however, was not really impressed. But you can’t expect everyone to be cultured.