"Have you ever seen one of the rasps made into a snake?"Anderson asks a visitor.
Burley picks up the story, fingering a one-time metal rasp, nowbecome a snake: "This is what happens when a blacksmith gets bored.He took that thing and hammered it over in two on either side andturned it into a folk art rattlesnake."
"I've seen a snake like that go for $100 at auction," saidAnderson, "but I wouldn't give two bucks for it."
Of course, that is what Anderson is all about: Buy low and sellhigh. That's what he's been doing for fifty years or better,collecting all manner of what he calls antique "junk." Much of it,he leases to film companies making movies in the central Texasarea. Most of it just sits around in the "Country Life Museum" thatstands as the crown jewel of The Grove, the historic little townAnderson bought back in 1972. There's also a post office, ablacksmith shop, a saloon, a doctor's office, a store and aSheriff's office. All of it and everything in it will be sold atauction Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 23, 24 and 25.
"The way we're doing it is, we're going to start the auctionFriday; we're going to sell the contents," said Burley who operatesthe Burley AuctionGallery from New Braunfels, Texas. "And Saturday at noon, nomatter where we're at in the auction, we're going to stop theauction; we're going to offer the property for sale at auction andit's all going to sell as one lump. We don't want to split it upbecause, you know, Moody got it this way in one lump; we want tokeep it all together. We're hoping somebody is going to come in andbuy it and do something with it, turn it into a restaurant or, youknow, something to give some respect to the town."
"I had a stroke about two years ago," said Anderson. "Now I'm 82years old. My children don't care anything about it and mygrandchildren don't care anything about it; so that's the reasonI'm selling."
Anderson admits his wife is not much of a "junk" fan either.
"No, she doesn't care much for it," he laughed, but she puts upwith me, so I appreciate that ."
"Whoever buys The Grove, will also buy the town's originallife-giving water well, which, ironically, also resulted in itsdeath. That's because back in the 1930s, the state was going tobuild a highway right through the middle of town and that wouldhave meant paving over the well. The townsfolk would hear none ofthat. They protested loudly and as a result, the highway was builtaround the town. With traffic bypassing it, The Grove withered anddied.
"I drank some water out of it about four years ago and my wiferaised all kind of cain with me," Anderson laughed. "She said,'Man, you ought to have that water tested, but I figured if it wasgood enough for old-timers to drink, it was good enough for me.'"
"Now an old-timer, himself, Moody Anderson is bowing out andhe admits to some sadness. Asked how he copes with that, heshrugs.
"I don't know; I guess you have to put up with it," he replied."I hope somebody buys it and restores it and keeps it like it is,but I can't tell somebody what to do if they buy it, so I don'tknow."
Turning a farm implement over in his hands, his voice trails offand his mind wanders to a time long ago, when The Grove bustledwith life and all the "junk" in his town was new and bright. In theworld beyond, potential bidders lay in wait, licking their chopsand biding their time as an auction came rumbling down a road thatbypassed a town.
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
A man is charged with murder in the shooting death Wednesday of a woman at a North Austin auto repair shop, police said Friday.
A man is expected to survive after being stabbed in the head at the Salvation Army shelter in Downtown Austin at about 3:45 a.m. Friday.
As the Austin area prepares itself for an impending winter storm on Friday, Dec. 6, many schools have already announced delays.
With freezing temperatures pushing through the region, heating systems will likely be working overtime, which can bring rising energy bills.
Investigators are looking into an overnight fire that left one woman with third-degree burns.