A farmhand named Joe

Joe came into my family’s life in late October 1953 when he and his parents moved to our farm as sharecroppers. They moved by mule and wagon. This threesome sharecropper family lived a simple Amish type life, working the farm with two mules, planting and harvesting with joy.

Joe’s parents drove a horse and buggy two miles into town every Saturday while Joe rode a magnificent bike. His was the first bicycle around Fair Bluff with hand gears and hand brakes, much fancier than my little red bike. Joe assembled my little red bike. He could assemble anything without reading the instructions.

Joe couldn’t read, but he didn’t need to. He reminded me of “Hoss” Cartwright from “Bonanza.” He was a tower of strength dressed in blue denim overalls, big as an ox, strong as a mule, but gentle as a lamb. His bare feet on the unbroken ground was the first sign of spring, as he collared his mule to the plow and plotted each field to be furrowed.

I loved ol’ Joe and miss him. The scent of the good earth still carries the spirit of Joe. Thanks, ol’ Joe, for all that you were for me.

F. Ray Thigpen, M.D., Whiteville, Brunswick EMC

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