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Saying Goodbye

The sign was on display for weeks. It read “Big Bear Auction Saturday October 26, 10 AM.” Like many in the neighborhood, I must have driven by it umpteen times. The notice was in the local paper too, and Earl wanted to go. While I didn’t need anything a former country club turned public golf course turned closed had to offer, I was curious to see the place one more time.

Earl and I had gone to more than one event at the Berrien Hills Golf Course. By the time we came to town, the hoity-toity era was long gone. And the main buildings, as well as the grounds themselves, had seen their prime. Still, the dining room off the bar, as well as the gorgeous ballroom, clung to their earlier glories. One of them was the spectacular views from the wall of windows on the back side.

Today those rooms were filled with plates, saucers, and cups from the golden years; tables and chairs from the patio; chafing dishes and warming ovens from the kitchen. Outside golf carts and lawn mowers and garden tools stood ready to find new homes.

Peoples’ memories of wedding receptions, Sunday brunches, dinners with friends, business get-togethers, and that one drink at the bar had already vacated the premises. What remained was all business. Two auctioneers, hundreds of bidders, the parking lot filled with trucks and trailers to haul away the items, and the pall of rain. It felt as if crows had come to pick the bones.

Earl and I made one last tour of the ballroom and left.

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