The trouble with land is that they’re not making it anymore. ~Will Rogers
After hearing nothing but positives from our son-in-law about the property to be auctioned, Bill and I got excited. All Jim kept telling us was that it was such a gorgeous piece of land. Now, remember our son-in-law is a land and surveying engineer. He knows his way around land. If he thought it was nice and had possibilities, we were encouraged. We planned our trip down to Evansville for the Sunday, September 28 showing.
Honestly, looking at the proposed tracts in the auction photo, we were struggling at which tract(s) of the three we might be interested in purchasing. Tract 1 was 20+/- acres of tillable and wooded acreage with lake access. We liked the front section of Tract 1 and loved the lake access. However, we really were not interested in all those acres behind the woods. Tract 2 was 2.7 +/- acres mostly wooded with a shelter house and lake access and 60 ft of paved road frontage. This tract didn’t sound bad, but I’m not a “live in the woods” person. I love sun and lots of natural light. And, it might be strange living behind another house. Tract 3 was 2 +/- acres with a 2727 sq ft one story brick and siding home, detached garage, and a 40×30 classic metal-sided barn with 11 ft lean-to. We really were not interested in this tract because we did not want to maintain buildings for several years before we were ready to build.
Sometime before the showing Jill and Jim both went out to the property to look around. I remember Jill calling us saying that there would be a remote possibility that they might also be interested in part of the property. Really? In fact, they loved all the acreage behind the woods. At that time the back acreage was being farmed out and the University of Evansville’s cross-country team was using part of the north end for their course. Jim & Jill were already envisioning living at the top of the gradually sloped 18+ acres. Problem was – a couple years prior to this they and Jim’s parents had purchased land next to each other for future homesteads. Jill said she didn’t know how they could possibly change those future plans without hurting relationships with Jim’s parents. We fully understood. We love Jim’s parents and consider them part of our family. So we went with the plan that we would come down and look at the auction property for us alone.
The property was being shown to the public on two different dates – Sunday, Sept. 28 from 2:00-4:00 PM and Tuesday, Sept. 30 from 4:00-6:00 PM. We chose the Sunday, which ended up being a beautiful fall day. Jill and Jim left the kids with Jim’s parents and the four of us went to view the property first hand.
Here are a few pictures of what we saw that day:
We walked the whole 25+ acres of the property and fell in love. Our problem was . . . we fell in love with all 25+ acres! But Bill and I knew we couldn’t take care of all that acreage and we really didn’t want that house that was on the property. It was old and had been built onto several times. And, the most important thing was, we knew we’d never be able to afford to buy the whole thing anyway. By the end of the afternoon, Jill and Jim were acting as if they still would be interested in part of the property. Since we much prefered the front section of Tract 1 over the wooded Tract 2, Jill & Jim were thinking that maybe there would be a chance that we could bid on Tract 1 together and then divide it up later. But Jill had this worried look on her face when we parted that day. They had that other property with Jim’s parents. How could they tell them they were interested in a new piece of property? We both said we would pray about the situation and hoped that God would lead us in the right direction. Jill & Jim said they would talk about the property together and get back with us later that week so we could make plans whether to attend the auction the evening of Tuesday, October 7.
Bill and I drove 3-1/2 hours home that evening and chatted excitedly the whole way back thinking of all the possibilities. We knew nothing about land auctions and wondered how high the bids would go for each tract. Needless to say, we were on a high the next couple of days anxiously waiting to hear from Jill and Jim.
Jill called Wednesday night after we had looked at the property. She asked if Bill was home as she wanted to talk with both of us. He was not home and I was leaving for a meeting. She hesitantly asked me this question, “How would you like to live next door to Jim’s parents?”