We had an interesting fellow rent a small house on our property. His name was Astor Poag. He was an older gentleman with a crusty nature. He loved to tell stories, to raise a garden, and to walk in the field with our kids. He hated onions, “stupid people,” and gophers!
Almost any time we drove by his house he would be out in his garden poised with a rifle at the opening of a gopher hole. The more he could kill in a day the better his day was. He did not want to share his garden with them and he didn’t! When there were no fresh gopher holes at his home he would spread out into the fields where there were always plenty. He would even come to our house and hunt when he’d notice a fresh mound.
We came home one Sunday after church to find he had killed a gopher and hung it from the extended ladder on Adam’s fire truck. We walked in the back yard and there it was. We knew instantly “Poag,” as we all called him, was having a good day. Imagine the little fire truck shown above with a gopher neatly hanging from the extended ladder.
One time, as a joke, Larry’s dad hid a few onions under the seat of Poag’s car. He smelled the onions right away, took them out and burned them, and wouldn’t speak to Larry or his dad for at least six months. He didn’t think their joke was the least bit funny.
This photo was taken a couple years before we found the gopher hanging on the fire truck. It is one of my only photographs of Poag.
Robin thought it was one of her jobs to be sure Poag loved Jesus. She would go for walks with him in the fields. When they came back to the house they would both be beaming from their conversation. He told her that he believed in Jesus as a boy and she took some comfort in that. Our kids really loved that old fellow. He was abrupt and sometimes mean spirited but they seemed to see beyond that and love him just the same.