Man from the country

| March 07, 2006

The young people on the farms around Hooks also had to work in cotton fields and later work with soybeans as they became a more popular crop. But the bean fields could be worked with less part-time help.

“We had to supplement what we earned,” says Hill. “Our milk came fresh from the dairy, not the supermarket, and we hunted game to have something on the table. There was quail, grouse, duck, a goose sometimes and deer. Then they introduced turkeys.”

And with the turkeys came a family tradition. Family members would go out and bring back enough for Christmas dinner, and they still do. “We try to get the family together and have five or six wild turkeys,” Hill says.

Hill also still hunts deer, but deer season around Hooks is also the busiest season he faces as a driver, so there are fewer and fewer days out with the rifles these days.

Hill started driving in 1996. He’d taken early retirement from a job as a warehouseman at an Army depot in Hooks in 1995. After that, bored at home, he started looking for a new job. But he found nothing to suit him. “I stopped sitting around the house and went to trucking school. I’d had a chauffeur’s license, but I let it lapse, so I had to go back to school.”

He mainly rolls between Dallas and Atlanta, and sometimes does coast-to-coast runs.

Hill has five children, a boy and four girls.

“I wanted them all to hunt, so they could learn to use a firearm and to learn to kill and field dress game,” he says. “You see, when you come from the country, those skills are things families like to pass on. You never know when hard times will come, when you’re down on your luck and need to get by. So I took them all out and taught them how.”

Off-Duty Destinations: See History as an Eyewitness
You struggled memorizing names and dates in stale textbooks until the bell rang, signaling freedom for the afternoon. Now all grown up, you remember wars and presidents, but what if these great figures and events of American history could come alive? What if you could see how people lived and died in the days before cell phone and CB chatter filled our heads?

From the great wars to colonial villages, historical preservationists are recreating American history. Period re-enactors from all over the world, sporting old uniforms and antebellum gowns, set up battles, towns and shows for tourists. When you drive long haul, odds are you’ll drive somewhere within easy reach of some of the events sooner or later.

Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history museum in the world. Built on 301 acres, the restored 18th-century British capital of commerce in the New World is a must-see for anyone who wants to watch the past come alive. From opening to closing, re-enactors tell the story of the people who lived in Williamsburg – black, white, slaves, free, indentured, rich and poor. All have a story to tell about the birth of the United States.

Hundreds of homes, buildings and shops have been restored to perfection, and period guides offer tours and stories about each structure and the people who played out their lives there. “We help the future learn from the past,” is the slogan of Colonial Williamsburg, and each detail of Williamsburg provides an authentic experience.

Williamsburg was the largest and most influential of the colonies from 1699 to 1780, and restored Colonial Williamsburg includes re-enactments of speeches made by the Founding Fathers, tours of old Revolutionary armories, and demonstrations on furniture making. In almost every building, visitors have the opportunity to see re-enactors portraying daily life, and a calendar on the Williamsburg website helps you plan your trip to include special events. Visitors can also dine in authentic restaurants and taverns, such as the King’s Arms and Christiana Campbell’s.

The Colonial Williamsburg experience is not cheap, but seasonal ticket plans and monthly specials are available. Behind-the-scenes tours are available for a few extra bucks.

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