Those times unexpected

Published 12:32 pm Wednesday, April 17, 2019

One of the most rewarding aspects of working my job at this particular time in my life is being aware of the fact that at least one or two, if not a few, of the most significant and truly impactful moments of my life are most apt to be borne of the normal steps and everyday stops that I make without giving much thought to them. That is, until one of those special moments just happens to give a tap, just a touch enough that I am reminded … I felt it when I came to work as a member of The Gazette staff. It’s a feeling of home where you would least expect it — a quietly overwhelming surprise. An excellent example of just such an occurrence happened to me this past weekend.

The simple fact is, for inasmuch as I am a fortunate man to write the news and events of my home, I am now and again a helpless victim to the irrepressible urge to walk the fields and pastures where crops grow, and on the latter, cattle perfect their lazy graze. The farmers and families I’ve met are not forgotten.

This past weekend I had a chance to revisit a cattle producer’s operation, the likes of which are one of a kind around here. I had been to Knoll Crest Farm twice before; once to cover an auction during which I saw two bulls draw a total of over $320,000 — truly a once in a lifetime experience. The second time I visited, though, lit a light in me that burns brighter every time it visits my memory. My efforts were aimed at writing on the variety of forages grown to limit damage of fescue toxicity. My day, by contrast, offered up one of the deepest lessons of family I learned to date. I spent over four hours cruising the farm in one of the farm pickups. The youngest man of the Bennett clan to return from VT behind the wheel, behind me in the backseat – the man that started it all, Mr. Bennett Sr. To this day I will recall it as one of the most impactful to me. The time spent enjoying the differences and the similarities of the perspectives of the two men made an indelible impression. This past Saturday, some four years later, I saw them both again. The youngest is now a professional auctioneer and a judge for many of the FFA competitions I cover.

As I was gathering up to leave I ran into the Sr. Bennett, the family patriarch of some 86 years. He recognized me instantly and grabbed me like a kinfolk, turning to the friend he had been talking to and introduced me, describing our single half-day together as a special day of great fellowship. I was honored by his memory then, I am now. Four hours cruising cow pastures … the most impactful and significant moments of your life … See what I mean?

Noel Oliver is a staff writer for The Charlotte Gazette and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is