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Hartselle Enquirer

Our neighbors and friends

The farm I grew up on was five miles from the nearest town and one and one-quarter miles from the nearest paved road and dry goods store. Town folks described us as country hicks who lived on the backside of nowhere, but we knew better. We could get to where we wanted to go by walking, hitchhiking or riding in the back of an old pickup truck.  

Neither did we suffer the loss of good things to eat by staying home. We enjoyed yummy fruit pies and chocolate filled teacakes on weekdays and layer cakes and fried chicken on Sundays.  

Our lifestyle was far from boring. Fieldwork kept everyone busy during the growing and harvesting seasons, and chores had to be done every day; however, there was always some time that could be devoted to yard games, swimming, fishing, hunting and camping.  

The presence of neighbors also added comfort and pleasure to our lifestyle. At least five families farmed land adjoining our 50 acres. They were the Griffins (two families), Spears, McCollums and Bradfords.  

Riley Spears and Earl Griffin owned farms adjoining our farm on its south side. Spears and his wife became our closest neighbors when their two sons, both World War II veterans, purchased their 13-acre farm so they could relocate from a remote mountainside home in the west sector of Clay County.   

He arrived with a pair of oxen, a wagonload of homemade farm implements and a hog he pastured with the aid of a wooden yoke. We made regular Saturday night visits to his home, where we sat on the front porch and listened to the Grand Ole Opry on our Zenith battery radio.  

Earl Griffin and his wife lived on the north bank of Fox Creek. He used a wooden trough to run spring water into and out of his kitchen, 

Will Griffin and his wife farmed land on the south side of our farm. Jake McCollum owned a farm on the west side he rented to the Craft family. My wife Geanell’s father, Bascom Bradford, and his family owned a farm west of the McCollum farm.