Five years ago today Papa (Andy) left this earth for his heavenly home. He only lived nine short months after we lost Granny (Hazel). Honestly, he was just a shell of a man during those months. He had lost his lifelong helpmate. They had lived, worked, laughed and loved together for over 60 years. While Papa was the vision and the builder, Granny was the backbone of day to day life….both in business and in family. He was literally lost without her.
Our lives are not the same since they are gone. We still think of them everyday. We still see them in shadows around the property, hear their voices on the wind, feel their love in the innermost parts of us. As Papa aged he started having trouble with his memory. I think he realized what was happening because he started to write down his life story which he titled HISTORY OF ANDY COPE. We didn’t find it until after his death and what a gift it is.
Granny and Papa were part of a generation that is almost gone. The things they experienced in their lifetimes serve to teach us all lessons. It’s interesting that many of the gems of wisdom Papa wrote in his book we saw lived out in his life but never heard him articulate. In honor of Papa’s life and vision I am going to share some of his writings with you today. It’s about the early beginnings of Andy’s Trout Farm over 50 years ago. I hope to continue sharing some of his thoughts with you over time. His life experiences span from very humble beginnings in the mountains of western North Carolina, his service on the Aircraft Carrier THE INTREPID during WWII, the joys and trials of building and running a family business, retirement life in Arizona and the adventures that were a part of a lifetime.
When I started work on Andy’s Trout Farm I didn’t have many people who thought I would ever make a go of it. Hazel thought for sure we would starve. I borrowed money from the Government F.H.A. The reason I got money from F.H.A. was because no one else would lend me money for this purpose. I don’t believe the most of the people I dealt with in F.H.A. thought I wood succeed. They were very safe in lending me money. They took a morage on 325 acres of land, which was worth more than the loan. Of course I used the money to build buildings with. This was a 40 year loan. I never missed a payment or was late on one. Most every year I paid some extra, after 28 years I payed off. The first 2 years was the hardest years to make payments. Some of the time we would put a mattress on the floor in the office to sleep on. This way we could rent the house on weekends. Every bit of income helped out. I could have borrowed more money after the first 5 years but I didn’t care to. I have been more interested in having a job and being my own boss than anything. There has been many things I’ve had to expearment with not knowing if it would pay off or not. I have always known its not what you make working that counts the most. It’s what you can do with what you make that counts.
In the front of the notebook Papa write his philosophy for life. He titled it Andy’s Way of Thinking.—Yo’ve got no right to take something out unless you first put something in. So shoot square, play 50-50. Don’t do much figuring to see how much you can take out but give a little serious and unselfish thought to what you can do to make a better community to live in and yourself a better person.
To my way of thinking those are some pretty good words to life by. Join me in this journey…from the very humble beginnings and right into the 5th generation of living and loving here at Andy’s Trout Farm.