You know, I’m just a poor teacher. I’m rich with family and friends, and I’ve been blessed to have a little land to hunt. I make enough to keep my family fed, but sometimes, especially this time of year, things get tight. Sometimes I wonder how things may have been if my Great-Grandfather hadn’t been such a good farmer.
My Great-Grandfather raised a family and became a prosperous tobacco farmer near Hemingway, South Carolina, through the years of the Great Depression. Papa had almost lost everything when the depression struck. He took what little he was able to salvage, gave it to his wife, and told her to take care of it. Whenever he made a crop, he took the money to her. Whenever he wanted to buy anything, he told her what he wanted, and she gave him what he needed. Papa went to his wife one day and got enough money to buy a farm. He was going to an auction.
Papa got his son Rufus to drive him to the auction. When he got there Papa took a pair of post-hole diggers out of the car. He dug a hole as deep as he could, and then covered it up.
When the bidding started for the farm, Papa never cast a bid. His son Rufus asked, “Papa, I thought you were going to buy this farm?” And Papa replied, “Son, I couldn’t find any clay, you can’t grow ‘bacca in this sandy dirt. Whoever buys this land will always be po’.
Papa was right, nobody was ever able to grow tobacco on the land, but Papa was also wrong. The people who bought the land did not always stay poor. The farm was at the heart of what we now call Myrtle Beach. It makes me wonder why Papa had to be such a good tobacco farmer.