When my father was laid off from his job as a miner, we had to move out of the company house in Camden to a 100-acre farm in Cane Branch.
My two brothers and I were young and did not know quite what was happening to us. Many coal miners lost their jobs during this time and had to find a way to feed their families. My dad and mom were raised on a farm, and thought this was the thing to do at this time.
I remember my dad forever struggling to raise his family from week to week, month to month, and from one year to the next. He had to depend entirely upon the land to survive.
He hunted and trapped game for food to feed our family. He searched the woods for roots that were sold for herbs, and in the spring, we planted every cleared acre of land in seeds and plants to provide food in the winter for our family and livestock.
I can remember seeing all this happening when I was a small boy, and it seems like yesterday to me.
I had never worked on a farm before, and everything was new to me — milking our cow, feeding the hogs, collecting eggs and learning to shoot my dad’s guns to keep the hawks away from our chickens. Even though it was very hard work, I was enjoying myself. There are no fonder memories in my life than those spent at our farm.
After school let out at Burdine, I had to hurry the two miles home so as to work in the fields until it got dark. I have plowed many acres of land behind an old mule.
Although I loved both of my parents beyond words, my mother was the closest to me. I suppose it was because she gave me more attention than may dad. Today I see so much of her in myself in the way I say and do things, and the love I have for my children.