Inheritance

There is a beef and dairy farm near our house  named KC Farms, owned by Dante Carpenter. You can read a little about his farm if you like.

He raises black Angus beef cattle and registered Jersey milk cows. We raise many of his bull calves for him. (He’s not really equipped to deal with baby bull calves. He keeps all the little heifers, though.)

calf

Here’s a photo of one of our calves, just for the hell of it.

Dante’s farm has been in his family since the mid-1940’s. He didn’t buy it. He inherited it, about 400 acres, complete with cleared, fenced pastures and various barns and outbuildings, including the milking barn.

He has, of course, worked very hard indeed to make it better. He’s added equipment, upgraded buildings, installed new silos, replaced fencing.

Dante has not done all this work alone, however.

This is Jason. He’s our friend and he works for Dante. He’s pictured there in the milking parlor at KC Farms.

Dairy farming is some of the hardest work you can imagine. It’s also very demanding emotionally and intellectually. Jason has forgotten more about dairy farming than I will ever know. He’s been doing it all his life.

He has advanced training, making him a more valuable employee. He’s certified in AI (artificial insemination), and has to be re-certified from time to time. If you think that’s no big deal, come watch him do an insemination and you’ll change your mind. He knows every dairy cow on the property, who her sire and dam were, all about her offspring, including who she was bred to, and her milking history.

He milks twice a day, at 2:30 a.m. and again at 2:30 p.m. Dante relieves him on his days off. In between milking, he does everything around that farm you can think of, from planting and harvesting grain and hay to repairing fences and bottle-feeding baby calves. He provides many of the basic veterinarian services for the farm.

In short, he’s a very good employee, well-qualified, hard-working, and generally nice to be around. He’s kind to both people and cattle.

However, if Dante Carpenter were to decide to close the farm down, or to sell it, or to switch from milking cows to growing tobacco—Jason would find himself looking for another job. In fact, if for some reason Dante just decided to hire a different guy to do the same job, Jason would be in the job market.

And that brings me to this:

The conversation is about Stephen Jones selling some antiques.

It goes on:

Somebody tries to interject some common sense, but no—Camille will not have that.

First, what in the hell does she mean—”he has no credentials to do this”?  To sell some antiques? Is she bonkers?

Second, she whines and fusses because somehow, she believes he is getting “special treatment.” He is “entitled and pampered.”

She is angry because “faculty” have not been given the same “privileges.”  I suspect she means the Lewises specifically.

But you see, Camille Lewis was the Jason of Bob Jones University. All the employees are. It doesn’t matter how qualified or dedicated or hard-working or effective they are. They are the “Jasons.” They are employees.

Stephen Jones, on the other hand, is the Dante Carpenter of BJU.

It is not only possible, but reasonable and almost certainly true that the Jones family has some sort of legal arrangement whereby they have the right to live on that campus for life. Whether or not this carries down to Stephen’s children and grandchildren, I have no idea.

If they had no arrangement like that, they would have no doubt bought property elsewhere, off campus, and built multi-generational housing there.

There are two reasons I make this assumption.

First, Dave and I are/were parents. We’ve done estate planning. Arranging for our son to have a home was something that was right at the forefront of our minds during all that planning. It’s normal and natural for parents to think like this. Hell, I bet Camille and Grant have done something similar. I bet that if they both died tomorrow, their minor children would inherit their house—they might even have an insurance policy in place that pays it off in that event.

But this is the main reason I think some legal arrangement exists.

This is Bob Jones Sr’s grave, located right slap in the middle of the front campus.

Would you bury your relatives on property you didn’t own or at least control?

Yes, Stephen is a child of privilege. He inherited it, just like Dante inherited his farm. Yes, he has connections none of the rest of us enjoy simply because of who his family is.

That’s life.

He also inherited a huge amount of pressure to do a certain thing and behave a certain way. He inherited a prison there on Wade Hampton Boulevard. He has never had the freedom I had to decide to chuck it all and move to Alaska, or decide to chuck that and move to Kentucky and raise Jersey calves.

This carping about his “privilege” is just petty jealousy and spite.  And it shows.

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