The Rest Of The Story
Usually, when I sit down and read one of these stories of Clint’s, I am laughing a belly laugh. Today, I must admit, tears were running down my cheeks as I finished reading his recap of adventure. Lord, I miss that friend! There are people in all of our lives that are true friends from the very beginning of the time that you meet, Clint was one of those to me. Over the sixteen years we were best of friends, I don’t think that ever changed for either of us. Clint tells the story of digging a little pond to water the garden, today where we started that little pond, stands a true pond with water aplenty to water the garden and more. No, I did not dig it, but had it done professionally. Clint would be so proud! Enjoy as you laugh along with Farmer Clint!
I’ve been writing this column for nearly 3 years – in fact, this is my 36th tale from what I call “The Funny Farm” at Harrell Hill. A few months back I seemed to have exhausted my inventory of stories from that fateful summer of 2010…when I lived and worked alongside my friends Doug and Barbara Harrell. But, “poof”, here I am again…another incident has come to mind! J
Sitting here today, in our comfy FLOODED Mitchell County, it seems impossible that drought plagued the area not that long ago. In fact, the summer I went to “Farmer School” at Harrell Hill was a hot and very dry. Coming from the BIG City of Hendersonville, NC, I was clueless concerning the life and plight of the farmer. Like most “city folk”, I thought tomatoes grew in my local Ingles store!
Farmer Doug was bemoaning the lack of rain, for just a second, when he decided that we needed to find water to irrigate the parched garden. Being the cynic that I am, I thought to myself, “FIND WATER? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!” After all, the fields were literally cracking from the extreme heat and lack of rainfall. Nevertheless, who was I to challenge Doug’s ideas. So, as he mounted his GIANT earth moving thingamabob, I fell in behind him and went in search of life-giving water.
When we arrived in the field Doug stopped alongside what appeared to have been a ditch/stream – perhaps back in prehistoric times. If you laid on your belly beside it you could ALMOST feel an itsy bitsy bit of moisture in the soil. Always the optimist, Farmer Doug had referred to it as a “stream”…I’m thinking to myself, “This IS NOT A STREAM…it’s little more than a leak in the dirt!”
Farmer Doug sensed my disbelief, gave me that “Pollard you don’t know nuttin’ “ smile, and patiently explained that we needed to carve a retaining pond to capture as much of the precious liquid as possible. “When pigs fly,” I opined to myself. It reminded me of God’s words to Adam following the Fall… “And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;” Genesis 3:17. Surely the scorched ground COULD NOT give up enough moisture to save our garden.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
My friend began dropping the giant front-end loader bucket/digger thingy into the packed ground, his machine straining and groaning in protest. He’d encounter a boulder which delayed progress and threatened to doom our lake building efforts…but Farmer Doug never gives up. Every so often I would climb into the expanding cavern to shovel it out, doing my part in this DRY HOLE! I recall feeling somewhat tentative about the effort…surely there were evil critters – perhaps a rattlesnake or two; maybe a killer groundhog; surely a venomous spider – beneath the surface, irritated that we were disturbing their homestead.
By this time I had lost at least 50 pounds of Farmer Clint fat…having gone from a size 50” waist (at 309 lbs) to a svelte 41” and 250 lbs. Although I was feeling more fit and trim than ever, the heat of the day nearly sent me to heaven…shovel and grunt…dig and sweat…another rock fighting against my shovel…oooooh, ahhhh, ooooooh, ahhhh (that’s the sound of a man working on the chain gangJ!)
I was pretty sure that I was only minutes, possibly seconds away from meeting Jesus when I noticed a tiny wet spot on the wall of the canyon…surely I was hallucinating – this must be a mirage.
Now more…a little more…more now…VOILA, a trickle began flowing from the center of the earth! Farmer Doug grinned…I stood in that hole, my mouth gaping, as water covered the toes of my Farmer Clint boots J. I watched in wonder as the makeshift reservoir began filling, ever so slowly but surely!
A Garden Party!
Remarkably, after a couple hours that doggone hole was FILLED with water! Farmer Doug, with me in-tow J, jury rigged an irrigation system with pvc pipe, a few sprinkler heads and some duct-tape…he started the compressor and primed the pump before plunging it into the muddy water…and we had LIFT OFF! Who needs rain when you have a lake to draw from? J
It may be a bit of a stretch to say that those vegetables erupted in applause, but not much! As the cool mist fell upon our garden I could almost see and hear those withering leaves and stalks revive…amazing.
A Farmer’s Praying Knees
During the Summer of 2010, my summer of restoration on Harrell Hill Farms, Lee Brice released a song titled “Love Like Crazy.” I want to share a couple verses of that with you:
Just Ask Him How He Made It
He’ll Tell You Faith And Sweat
And The Heart Of A Faithful Woman,
Who Never Let Him Forget
Be A Best Friend, Tell The Truth, And Overuse I Love You
Go To Work, Do Your Best, Don’t Outsmart Your Common Sense
Never Let Your Prayin Knees Get Lazy
And Love Like Crazy
My friends, these words perfectly describe Farmer Doug Harrell, my friend above friends. At the risk of embarrassing him, I hope you will take this message to heart… Never Let Your Prayin’ Knees Get Lazy!
I’ve told you before that Doug always woke me long before sunrise with a patented, “Pollard, we’re burning daylight!” And I’ve described the delicious buckwheat cakes and homemade molasses he made to fill my belly. But before any of that happened…in advance of waking his helper…before stirring the pancake batter…Doug Harrell sat in the dim morning light, Bible in hand, seeking the face and will of his Father.
We had a productive garden in the summer of 2010…a time when much of Mitchell County looked like scorched earth. Corn…tomatoes…beans…okra…broccoli…survived despite the drought – and water flowed from dry ground. I believe, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God rewarded the faithfulness of my friend Farmer Doug Harrell…the Lord made that water flow…all because he never lets his prayin’ knees get lazy!
And the water continued to fill that muddy reservoir until the rain fell again. Praise God and Amen!
Still Humbled in the Hills,