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Lawrence Piere

Meet Lawrence Piere, a born farmer

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What fun to interview a friend I had not seen for a long time -- and I'm talkin' 40 years. It was his mom, Emma, who taught me, an 18-year old bride, to make soap on a bar with Fels Naptha.

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This gent's name is Lawrence Piere from several miles east of Hewitt. He was born in 1933 on the same farm he has lived on all of his life, aside from the two years he spent in Germany in the Army. His father's name was Ernest, and you have already met his mother, Emma. He had a brother and a sister.

The farm consists of 120 acres of farmland chosen to be his own by William Piere in 1899, then again by Ernest Piere and now to Lawrence. The brothers farmed it together until Dave died, two years ago.

It was good fertile soil between the rocks, evidenced by huge rock piles on nearly every piece of land and down fence lines. Lawrence can't believe rocks sell for 3 cents per pound in some localities. At that price farms along that stretch would be gold mines.

The Piere kids all graduated from high school in Bertha. After finishing his stint in the Army, when Lawrence got back home, did he mope around trying to find out what he should do? No. He didn't have to "find himself." He knew who he was, a born farmer, just like his dad, and his dad.

The independence enjoyed by the farmers of a half-century ago appeals to Lawrence. With the exception of coffee, salt and sugar they raised or grew everything they needed. I have buttons cut from the horn of a cow.

The Piere's first tractor was a B John Deere bought in 1936. Keeping their machinery up -- and being careful -- cut down on accidents. They didn't feel the need of a vacation, so why take one?

Being the last one living of a long line of Pieres does nothing to cheer Lawrence. They were a fine bunch with a great sense of humor.

Then I asked the one question to which everyone seems to have an answer right off the bat. What were you doing when you heard the Japanese sunk our 7th Fleet at Pearl Harbor?

The Piere family was gathered around the radio listening to a Jack Benny show when it was interrupted by that grim announcement. A declaration of war soon followed. As I write this, Lawrence is resting, getting his strength back, after a rough siege of pneumonia. How pleased I am that he chose to spend this time under our big roof.

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