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Weishuhn, who's specific and articulate when talking about the mechanics of farming, has trouble explaining his feelings for it. After thinking a moment, he says, "Well, farming is outside work and I love that." Then he stops and laughs. "But I guess football is too—except for those domed stadiums."
Cotton farming is strenuous work. From the spring plowing on through the planting, the irrigating, the cultivating and the harvesting, it requires 12- and 14- and 16-hour days. "Lots of nights I've been out on that tractor until midnight," Weishuhn says. "Then up the next morning at six. But I've worked hard all my life and I like it."
He is sitting on the couch in the Weishuhns' small living room. He uses snuff, and he pauses to spit in a plastic cup Diane has brought him. "As a matter of fact," he says, "one of the things that bothered me when we were living up in Massachusetts last year was that I'd be home from practice by six o'clock and then there'd be nothing to do. That's when I'd miss being back here the most. We lived in a little place, a kind of suburb of Foxboro, and there was a dairy farm right across from the house we lived in. Sometimes I'd walk across the road and just look at it."
"Sometimes," says Diane, "he'd go over and smell the dirt in the pasture there."
He'd do what?
Clayton grins. "Aw, I didn't do that but once," he says. "I just wanted to see if they had as good a dirt as we have here in Wall. They don't."
"He's always walking out in the fields around here and on the land we lease up near Waco and picking up a handful of dirt and smelling it and tasting it and feeling it," Diane says.
"Why not?" Clayton says proudly. "Listen, my daddy can pick up a handful of dirt and damn near tell you as much about it as one of those soil analyses they do up there at Texas A&M."
Diane stops on her way out to the kitchen. "See, that's it," she says. "That's what's hard to explain. Farming sort of gets in your blood. It's all that Clayton and I have known. Farming and Wall. And the people around here."
It has turned into a beautiful afternoon, bright and sunny. Weishuhn and the visitor move outside and sit on the front porch. "Hell, we ought to be fishing today," Weishuhn says, "or plowing." He gives his visitor a sidelong look. "Instead of sitting in the house talking."