First Week Working on the Farm:
Grunting to Keep Up with Uncle Gene 

We have been on the farm here in North Carolina for one week. The first order of business, as it turned out, was to deal with 60 years of accumulated items stored in an old barn, four sheds (nine bays), a corn crib, and a meat house.

On Sunday, uncle by marriage, Gene Weaver, said if I was going to have some time this week to work on the project, he would help. I said "absolutely!" He showed up next morning at 11:00. We worked past dark (7:00 pm) with only one break for lunch. Next morning same time, he showed up again and we worked the same as the day before. The third and fourth days were equally the same.

Gene seemed to never stop, and I pressed to keep up, going from one completed job to another. We cut away brush, thicket, and trees, removed rotted wood stored in barn structures, then loaded and unloaded four trailers of it at a nearby brush pile. We also removed five dumptruck loads of old farming equipment and parts, scrap metal and pipes, large refrigerators (six of them), barrels, buckets, and tanks, old tire rims, and household items too varied to even begin listing. I ended every day exhausted and covered with dirt.

And, as it also turned out, I was the helper, not Gene. This man, I think, is the hardest working individual I have ever known. He took no breaks, hardly stopping even to talk, listen, or to wipe sweat. Together as we tugged, pulled, and dragged weights, some almost too much for the both of us, I noticed I was the only one grunting.

On Wednesday about 6:00, Gene said he thought he would quit. "What for?" I kidded, "It's not past dark yet! We can still see what we are doing!" (Shut my mouth!) So Gene reached for his hammer faster than I could say "Just kidding" and we broke down another trailer.

At lunch on Thursday, Gene prayed for the meal and thanked God for the opportunity to have so much fellowship and fun. At the close of his prayer I said, "Now Lord, you know that Gene is definitely speaking for himself." We laughed.

Gene is strong and in good health. He walks on his treadmill most days, eats well, gets good rest, and takes a bunch of supplements - but no prescription drugs. He not only keeps up his own ten acres to look like a postcard, but is also a leader and pillar of strength in his church, as well as the caretaker for their landscape and cemetery (also looks like a postcard). Oh, by the way, Gene will be 79 in two months.

Don Loy Whisnant/Journey Notes 8K01