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The Good Old Days: Hauling Fertilizer to Southern States



2013-06-17 - 105 N High Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener. Hershel Harmon, the Working Man's poet, worked with Trucker Jake Willis to bring fertilizer back to Columbia from Louisville when Bill McClendon, James Woody, and Shirley Glasgow were launching the Southern States dealership in Columbia. "We unloaded lots and lots of fertilizer, and stored it in this big warehouse behind me," Hershel said. Jake Willis was trucking then with a 2 ton truck, Harmon says, and he worked for Jake Willis. "He'd haul loads of cut timber into Louisville and bring a load of fertilizer back to Southern States here. It was a 1954 or 1955, Harmon says, "I was Jake Willis' right hand man. The trip up and down, twice, took a pretty long day, Harmon recalls. "We went up through Greensburg, Buffalo, Hodgenville, Elizabethtown, Ft. Knox, over Muldraugh Hill, and in past Benny's First & Last Stop, Kosmosdale, and Shively. Jake had pretty good truck. It'd climb Muldraugh in low stick, second gear, most of the time. After that it was pretty good sailing most of the way to Columbia. If it didn't pull good, Jake would talk pretty rough to it, Harmon remembers. Jake was really a Ford man, but somehow he ended up with that Chevy that J.C. Montgomery bought new. "We ate pretty good on the way," Harmon said. "We'd eat at Bill Goldsmith's Gulf Station and get a hot ham sandwich, or stop in Greensburg at Ennis' 24 hour restaurant for hamburgers and a soft drink, or the Kozy Korner in Greensburg for a plate lunch. Those were good days." Harmon recalls, of the couple of years he worked for Jake in those days. "i like Jake. He was a good man."
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