As Virgil picked up the pen with which to sign the papers the Rep for the developer said, "We'll go another mil for the five acres not included in these documents."
Virgil twirled the pen in his fingers, moved the Skoal a skotch farther back behind his lip. "With this thirty-five acres you will have the entire section but for only this five acres I'm holding. My great great grandpa settled on this land, cleared 60 acres and lived out his life here. My great grandpa cleared another 100 acres and lived out his life here. Grandpa kept up the good work, opened more land, built bigger barns and lived out his life here. My daddy finished clearing the section, worked himself into an early grave and passed it on to me.
"I've done well here, raised my family and was a faithful steward of this land. None of my kids chose to follow in my footsteps and here I am selling out. Selling out the sweat and dreams of four generations of God-fearing, hard working people. Y'all don't have enough money to get this last five acres. My home sits on this property. I know you have big and glorious plans for turning this place into a place of commerce with a "planned community" and only the good Lord knows what all.
Now here's what I'm gonna do. I am going to live out my days in that house whilst I watch your bulldozers 'n construction crews tearing up and paving over this paradise, putting in your strip mall and your signs will go up touting your hoity-toity development. I don't know how much you will destroy, or as you see it, "improve" before I die, but I'ma tell you up front that even when I'm gone you won't get your greedy hands on this five acres.
I have already made arrangements and established a trust to provide for keeping the weeds down and the property mowed, so don't expect to have it condemned. The taxes will be paid in perpetuity and the house and the equipment will sit right here, rust out and melt into the earth for all I care, but a sign and symbol forever that this place one time produced, produced, I tell you; fed people and meant something. It will be a reminder that something precious and worthwhile was destroyed for the sake of. . .
"For the sake of what, I dunno. Have a good life."
Virgil scratched his signature seven times, put down the pen, arose from his chair and strolled out the door, the heels of his boots clacking loudly on the wooden floor.