All American

I dabble in the cattle business a little bit and from time to time I go to the stockyard to buy or sell cows. Sold a few Wednesday. I nearly always go to the East Tennessee Livestock Center in Sweetwater. It's the closest.

Every time I go down there, I just get the feeling I'm looking at a little bit of American history. Except for a few modern amenities like the digital board and speakers, this is pretty much how the cattle business has operated for a many, many years. 

The sellers bring their cattle to the stockyard and the buyers gather in the gallery to bid on the stock pretty much one cow at a time. Each cow comes in one door in the pit and out the other as the auctioneer makes his calls. In a minute you hear SOLD.

Behind the the auction gallery and pit is a large stock barn filled with cattle of all ages, sizes and colors. There's a wooden cat walk high above the cattle pens where the buyers can go look down to survey the day's options before the bidding begins. 

It really feels like a step back in time with an opportunity to see a small segment of American capitalism.

Even if you're not in the cattle business and especially if you have kids, you ought to make a trip down sometime just to see the auction. It's really something unique.