A thousand words Beyond the Hill

Amber Sigman

ames Kennedy of Hodgenville picks up a rifle with dirty hands, displays it and aims at ever so casual Larry Rust of New Haven.

This is to sell, not to shoot.

“Eight dollar bid, $8 bid, $9,” Bill Kennedy of Brandenburg says from a small metal microphone attached to a hand-held amp. “Folks, you’re not looking,” he says to audience members who sometimes lose their attention during a Sunday auctions in Younger’s Creek.

“Sell that eagle,” Bill instructs his brother who presents auction products, such as eagle statues, to bargain hunters. They move onto the next “for sale” item.

Eighty-two-year-old Joe Sweet sits next to the flea market/auction entrance where he ventures every week to buy more items. He smokes a generic cigarette as he holds onto his homemade “Hillbilly” walking cane.

Meanwhile, Bill’s amp squeaks as he hands James a box for a rooster candle which has just been sold for $2.

Bill and his two brothers have been running the auction out of a small building in the tiny town of Younger’s Creek since November 2003.

They’ve been in the auction business for more than three decades.

“I just wanted to do it ever since I was young,” Bill said. “I went to auctions seven days a week. I just as soon have my own.”

Customers come twice a week to buy anything from screws for a dollar, blinking race car clocks, rocking Santa Claus dolls or vacuum cleaners. Many customers are the Kennedy’s kinfolk who live in Younger’s Creek and drive down the road to the tiny white building to support their family and friends by buying inexpensive treasures.

“It don’t cost you an arm and a leg,” Virginia Gill of New Haven said.

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Amber Sigman is a senior photojournalism major from Los Angeles, Calif. She can be reached at [email protected]