As a young girl I spent most of my time at my maternal grandparent's house. All my positive memories have the backdrop of the family farm. I still remember the day that PawPaw bought it. It was beyond exciting. For years I had sat in the big tree in MawMaw and PawPaw's front yard overlooking the no longer maintained piece of land. To my little girl self it seemed like a desert, with its rolling hills of dirt. You can imagine my excitement when PawPaw came into the house one evening announcing that the farm had been put up for auction.
I have a vivid memory of tagging along with PawPaw on the day of the auction. He pulled out on the land in his truck, popped open the tail gate for me to sit on, and strategically placed his folding chair that he always carried in the back of his truck with him, right in front of the auctioneer. In his relaxed country PawPaw kind of way, he filled his pipe with Prince Albert tobacco and lit it up. He spent the next how ever long it was, chewing on his pipe and lifting his trucker cap to scratch his head. After a few grunts and head nods the farm was ours.
Being that the 100 acres had sat untouched for God knows how long, the first major task was getting rid of all the groundhogs. Those little critters had taken over. Being the smart old man that he was, Pawpaw opened the farm to anyone interested in making a little extra cash. He offered $50 for every groundhog that was killed and brought to his door step. My uncles wasted no time and immediately got to ground hog hunting.
However, there was one specific groundhog that no one could manage to shoot. He was a sneaky one! Deciding that he would not be outsmarted by a groundhog my Pawpaw called my uncle Travis to bring the backhoe over to dig him out. I, having overheard the conversation, asked to tag along on this crazy little adventure.
I sat in the back of the truck watching pawpaw directing my uncle Travis on the backhoe and my uncle David, who had brought his shot gun over. We had a shooter, a digger, and a director. "Dig right over there Trav. Yep right there. Oh there that damn thing is. Shoot it David., shoot that damn thing. You were too slow, it got away. Dig over there Trav.,right there. I said right there.”
Eventually the ground hog was shot, the hole covered over, and grass planted. It took several years to get the farm up and running. There was a barn to rebuild, brush to clear out, a fence to be put up, and livestock to be bought. I watched it all from the tail gate of PawPaw's truck. On cool fall evenings when I sit on my front porch I am reminded of the man who's blood runs through my veins. He was the first person that I felt truly believed in me and was proud of me, no matter what I did or did not do. What would he think of me now? His first grand-baby is 30 years old, sitting on her front porch, in her bare feet, typing out a story of him, while her barefooted 6 year old daughter eats an apple beside her. Knowing my Pawpaw,I am sure he would be proud. Yes, there once lived a man that made me feel as if I hung the moon.