Highway 29, somewhere between Lewisville and Bradley, Arkansas. The sign by the road reads:
FOR SALE BY OWNER
Farm: 108 Acres
From a run-down shotgun shanty on a little hill, a family is loading their meager belongings into an old stake-body truck, with cattle-guard slatted sides. From personal experience in my own youth, I can tell they are share-croppers like we had been; forced to move on by the owner's decision to sell the farm.
More and more small farm owners seem to be going under; just can't afford to continue in the farming business. Worse than that, though, is the poor tenant farmers who are losing their entire livelihood. They will be very lucky indeed to find another place with a vacancy in time to plant and harvest a crop this year.
I thought about the trend that's gaining more and more momentum; small farm owners unable to compete with the large conglomerates who seem to be taking over the world. If that continues, what will happen to the share-croppers of the future?
'What If' they, like tenant farmers over the centuries, have to keep….
Mister O. B. Canoby (pronounced ‘kuh-NO-bie') was famous for his knowledge and skill in growing bountiful crops. If there ever was one person whose reputation as a farmer compared to that of my own father (Mister Abb), you could count O. B. one.
O. B. sat on the high seat of his well-worn conveyance and looked down at the ground over which he traveled. His family sat quietly in the back of the rig. It was at least a hundred years old, this conveyance of his, manufactured by Conestoga; who had been in business for centuries.
O. B. and his family had recently been evicted from their tenant house, because the owner of the farm went bankrupt. So here they were, once again, on the move; seeking a place with good soil and a vacant farmhouse, so they could make a crop.
Behind him in the old Conestoga sat seven fine strong sons, his wife of many years, and four beautiful daughters. Although he was deeply concerned about his family's needs and their future, there was not a hint of worry on the faces of his wife and children. They trusted in him to make the decisions which would affect their entire lives.
Looking down from his high perch, O. B. Canoby could see that the soil in this area was rich and fertile. Yes...this was the place. O.B. said:
The dilapidated old Conestoga space-ship stopped…and settled gently onto the black, fertile soil of...Kansas, Earth.