Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn wrote and performed a popular country music
song that I continue to enjoy hearing when it is played on the radio:
"I learned the path to Heaven is full of sinners and believers. I
learned that happiness on earth ainít just for high achievers. Iíve
learned Iíve come to know thereís life at both ends of that red dirt
I believe that there is something magical about a red-dirt road, as a
youngster I was blessed to experience what I recall as both ends of
the road; the people who were the most influential in my life were
blood relatives but so different in their lifestyles. During the
early years our parents and paternal grandparents lived in completely
different worlds, but physically only about twenty miles apart.
Our parents worked long hours to establish and personally operate a
propane business in Richland; they were members of the "greatest"
generation. Our Scott grandparents, part of the "silent" generation
worked equally hard to maintain a family farm and tend a country store
through the Great Depression and into their golden years.
Our grandparents never dreamed of being high achievers, they were
satisfied to live comfortably and have plenty of food. Our parents
were high achievers; after serving during World War II, daddy did not
intend to return to the farm to plow fields and raise farm animals and
momma never wanted to live in the country, in fact she grew up in
downtown Dawson and insisted on living in town.
I am proud of my heritage and the more I learn, the more I appreciate
my ancestors. Our descendants always worked for a living, while
studying my family history I recall that we originally worked the land
as farmers and that farming is a lifestyle, not just a way of making a
living. Other generations did manual labor, drove trucks, owned a boarding
house, delivered mail and parcels and taught school. As my Nanny
pointed out countless times; "hard work never killed anyone."
Visiting my paternal grandparents gave me a sense of how hard farmers
worked to generate food for themselves, to share with the neighbors
and sell to consumers. It is a shame that young folks are growing up
not realizing where their food really comes from, it takes dedication
to plant a seed, tend the rows, harvest the product and get it to the
customers in a timely manner. We owe a debt of gratitude to those
individuals who raise and process cattle and hogs and chickens for the
market; farming continues to be one of the biggest gambles that exist.
When I travel I frequently take the scenic route so I can gaze at
fields, and remember my grandparents who settled next to a red-dirt
road. A field of corn or soybeans is a thing of beauty; equally
fascinating is a well kept kitchen garden, a patch of collards,
turnips or rows of peas and butter beans are a thing of indescribable