I had a friend Floyd who owned a Black Angus farm in Oconee, SC. Being a good friend of mine, Floyd also had his own “personal waver”. The waver’s house sat in the middle of one of Floyd’s fields on 1 acre of land. His name was Fred. Floyd always wanted him to move because, with the new farming technology, Fred’s land made planting and harvesting difficult. Floyd did ask Fred if he wanted to sell his acre of land and the only reply was “now Floyd there is no need for you to buy my land and I won’t be around much longer. Fred was in his 90’s so Floyd never pushed the issue. Fred had just always been there. Floyd couldn’t remember a time when he weren’t around.
The day after Fred’s funeral, Floyd was in the court house trying to find out who was going to inherit Fred’s land, and to his amazement, Floyd owned the land. Floyd’s father had just let Fred live there while Fred worked odd jobs around the farm. After all that Floyd said he was glad he never pushed the issue of Fred moving. He had grown to like Fred. He even went over to sit on his porch and help him wave at all the cars that passed his house. Floyd said that he would probably be a waver when got unable to work anymore.
Floyd’s Dove Hunt
Floyd had one of the most popular dove hunts in South Carolina. It was held on every Saturday during dove season. SC law stated that you could not bait the field unless you were planting a crop then it was legal. All year long when Floyd took his corn crop to the granary he had them save all the cracked kernels of corn. There was no need to plant cracked corn because it would not germinate. During dove season I was at Floyd’s at sunrise and planted the dove field with plenty of cracked corn. It was for the doves not to germinate.
One Saturday I couldn’t make it so I called Floyd earlier in the week to let him know. He said not to worry about it, he would have one of his farm hands take care of the planting. Well, about 9:00 Friday night he called to see if I could get off Saturday. His farm hand had just poured the corn out in big piles all over the field. He needed help because he knew the game warden would check the field on Saturday and would close the field. I was there bright and early, Floyd and I started cleaning up the field. Sure enough, about 10:30 the game warden, AKA “Rabbit Sheriff” as we called him, showed up. He said, “Floyd you and Al have sure worked hard this morning but I was here at sun-up and this field is closed for two weeks”. We packed up all the equipment and headed back to Floyd’s for breakfast. Two weeks later the dove hunt resumed its normal routine.
The Yearly Cattle Sale
Every year Floyd had a cattle sale. Black Angus farmers from nearby states and even a couple from Argentina came to the sale. Floyd made sure he had sure he had the best blood lines you could get anywhere. He paid one and a half million for his Bull and every year he sold all the calves that showed any signs of white hair anywhere. He also sold his cows that had not turned out to be good breeding stock. The auction Started at 8:00 am and would last until around 3:00 pm. After the auction, It was time for the pig roast and liquor drinking that lasted until around midnight.
My job was to cook the pigs. I used a back hoe to dig a trench about 100 feet long, deep enough to hold about 2 feet of red hot coals and the pigs. I would start around early evening Friday digging the trench then start burning wood in the bottom. By about 1:00 am we would have enough coals to cook the pigs. We had been soaking the pigs in a sauce, that only he knew the recipe, ever since we had started digging the trench. We wrapped the pigs in burlap sacks, laid them on top of coals and shoveled in some dirt. We made sure the heat would stay in but we could also check on the cooking once in a while. The term once in a while means the same as when your wife says”just a minute honey”. Floyd was the big man at the auction. Always dressed to kill, but the funny thing is, for the last several years, Fred (the waver) was always by his side also in a new tailored suit. Floyd would then act as if he were consulting with Fred on every sale. I thought he had become kind of an alternate father to Floyd. Floyd’s father had passed away when Floyd was young.
Back to dove hunting, about two years after the Game Warden (aka:Rabbit Sheriff) closed us down temporarily, I wound up falling and busting up my knee. I had to have it operated on and this was the week of opening day of dove season.
This caused quite a problem because I had never missed an opening day before. I was at home laying in bed trying to let my knee get well when I heard somebody pull in the driveway. They got out and the next thing I knew Floyd and two of his friends were in my bedroom. They said okay, get up, let’s go it’s opening day of dove season. We are getting ready to go to the field. Floyd already has you are gun, shells and everything in the truck. So let’s go. I told Floyd, “Floyd I can’t go dove hunting. I can’t even walk. The doctor said I’m not supposed to get out of bed. Floyd said “that’s okay. I’ve got everything taken care of.” Then they picked me up and carried me outside. In the back of his pickup truck he had a great big recliner chair. He had it all strapped and bolted down to the back of his truck. They then proceeded to put me in that recliner and put two belts around me so I wouldn’t fall out. We then started out for the dove field. When we got there, I saw that Floyd had taken three of those big round bales of hay and put them out in the middle of the field. They carried me out there and placed me between the three built bales of hay. I would be safe from other people shooting at me but the doves would be flying straight over my head. Needless to say, after about a six pack and shooting more doves than I had ever shot in a single outing, I finally told Floyd and to let me sit it out the rest of the day. I needed to go back to the house where I could rest and relax. So they loaded me back up in a pickup truck, took me home where we all had a beer and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. I don’t think that I have ever had a more enjoyable dove shoot than that one. As I said in the beginning, Floyd had his own personal waver. He didn’t go anywhere without his waver. His waiver, Fred, was the man who helped me the most while getting me in and out of the pickup truck, getting me safely to the dove field and then back home. Fred was a good friend and there was nothing that he enjoyed more than sitting on his front porch, waiting for car to go by and waving at whoever was in the car. I hope that I make it to his age so that I can be a waver.