Photo Shoot Hunter Jones
Hunter Jones, Ron Smith's grandson, shot this photo of Smith and Tennessee Farm Bureau President Jeff Aiken.

A day with a grandson is nothing like work

Working on a holiday not a bad deal when your grandson tags along

The day after Thanksgiving, I typically sit and regret the overindulgence of the previous day, abetted in my lethargy by hours of college football games in which I have little interest.

This year I made a different plan. Jeff Aiken, Tennessee Farm Bureau president, farms just a few miles from where we live. I’ve been meaning to set up a visit for several months but never quite worked it out. I reasoned that a few weeks after mid-terms, a few days before Tennessee Farm Bureau’s annual conference, and as harvest chores were winding down might be an opportune time for a visit.

Turns out, Mr. Aiken has a tight schedule and the day after Thanksgiving was the only time we could work in an interview. It was perfect timing because my second grandson, Hunter, was out of school and available — willing even — to tag along and get an idea of what his grandfather does for a living.

Hunter has notions of studying communications when he heads off to college in two short years. He has good language skills, has a good eye for photography and meets people well. I thought it would be good for him to meet a farmer.

He even agreed to roll out of bed early on a cold November morning.

We met Mr. Aiken at his Telford, Tenn., farm about 8 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than I had scheduled, a miracle for which I apologized.

Hunter listened as Mr. Aiken and I talked about his farm, his dog, Jeb (or Jed), and the issues Farm Bureau will follow over the next few months — water, dicamba, trade, and lab-grown meat.

I feared that Hunter would be bored. He said later it was an interesting conversation, although he was not familiar with some of the terminology. I explained what a black baldy is.

Driving around the farm, looking at the cows, checking the last few acres of corn left for harvest, and watching Jeb (or Jed) move cattle around was more interesting.

Hunter took photos of me taking photos.

Mr. Aiken asked him about school, encouraged him to find what he loves to do and pursue it. I completely agree. Hunter is a sophomore, 15 years old and good at a lot of things. If we get a new piece of electronics, we have Hunter install it. While he was at our house over the weekend he set up an audio remote control for the television — a unit we’ve had for months but with no clue how to make it work.

Hunter will be a good journalist, if that’s his passion. I would be thrilled if he found that passion in ag communications, but it will be exciting to watch him discover his calling.

Friday would have been a holiday; somehow, this didn’t feel like work.

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