Reading Time: 4 minutes

I remember the first time I met Gene.

It was a cold, wintery day at the farm. I had been researching the wooded area north of the broken fence of our property. I wanted it. It had a natural little dry creekbed running a tangent through the approximately three acres. There were tall pines and an old American sycamore and it was a haven for birds. I had walked it several times and I had gone to the court house to find out who owned it.

Then I’d gone to the address of the people who were paying the taxes on the place since 2001. I had knocked on their door several times and no one ever answered. I wasn’t giving up but I wasn’t sure what recourse to take. Mother kept pushing me.

Apparently coincidental with my visits but not exactly at the same time, Gene had also gone to the county tax office AND to the home of the same tax payer AND was attempting to purchase this SAME three acres.

Except he was more clever than me.

He left a note on their door with his cell phone number.

And he bought the property.

He was sneaky.

I saw him the first few times, as he was doing his personal survey. In the country, there’s nothing wrong with talking to a stranger.  I told him