My children, who live in four different states, have asked me many times to write more about the old farm I was raised on in Cane Branch Hollow.
It’s hard for me to think of the hardships we had when my dad was laid off from the coal company in the late 1930s. The only income we had was selling produce and chickens we raised on our farm.
As the oldest of three sons and never been on a farm before, I had a great deal to learn about farming.
The first think I did in the mornings after eating was milk one of the two cows, slop the hogs, and feed the chickens. Then I walked the four miles round trip to Burdine School, where I went for eight years and never missed a day or was ever late.
If I had not received the hand-me-downs from my Aunt Ida Mae Vanover Sexton’s boys, I would have been in a lot of trouble.
On weekends, my job was to gather a truckload of pullets (a young hen not more than a year old), put them in a cage my dad had on his old Model A truck, and take them to Camden and Burdine to sell them for 25 cents each.
I was so embarrassed to go door to door to sell the chickens, to homes where some of my classmates lived.
That’s the reason I left the farm when I turned 16 years old for the military, and would serve for the next 27 years. I had never been away from home before. This old hillbilly was so homesick for a very long time.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)