September 17th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

On September 15th 48 years ago, I attended an auction on the north side of Cedar Lake west of Upsala. Widow Agnes Olson was selling her house and moving to Cambridge. Gust and Agnes had lived there for many years. They were both teachers in Cambridge and I don’t think they had any children. Things had just started to go well with my office furniture career and one of my clients who worked for Red Owl was very encouraging. He owned a cabin on a lake in northern Minnesota. My banker was also encouraging. He knew that my saving account was not very hefty, but he suggested that I attend the auction and see what happened.

When we got there, my wife Marcia took me into the barn and said, “I want this place Gary and here is how you win at an auction. When it is your turn to bid you not hesitate. You react immediately. Understand?” 

I did not even have the $3,000 cashier’s check with me, so I had to speak to the local banker prior to the start of the auction to get his ok. I promised that if I was the high bidder, I would go to town and get a check from my mother-in-law. He thought about it really hard, but he finally agreed. I am sure that the fact that my dad and he were great friends, and had both worked for Farmers State Bank in Upsala before the war had an impact. Thank you Roland.

The auctioneer milked $50,500 out of the only other contender, and when he turned his attention back to me, and asked “Fifty one?” I did as instructed and simply nodded my head. The other bidder, Lee Bolstad stormed away and was quoted as saying “Rats, that kid will never quit.” Needless to say, that day changed our lives. One never knows what a day will bring. By the way, when I came back with the check, Agnes handed me the keys. No need to wait until closing in those days.

“The years teach much which the days never know.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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