Category Archives: People

The Mortgage Lifter

Home grown tomato season is on the wane in Nebraska for 2020.  My friend Terry regularly plants around 70 varieties each year and generously shares with me and others. Terry has ties to West Virginia, and still has a delightful “brogue”. Last week he gave me a tomato which was quite distinctive in appearance with pronounced “ribs”. It was uniformly red, not real big, but real delicious. I asked him about it today and right away he said “Mortgage Lifter”. What a great name! Poking around the internet I found the tomato originated in West Virginia. The stories that go with this tomato are almost as good as the tomato itself!

John Foulks (1928-2013)

When I was I kid I loved “big iron” (still do). Uncle TR was hauling cattle locally (from Dubuque County to Union Stockyards in Chicago). The usual routine was to load cattle in the late afternoon then drive to Chicago and unload, get a bite to eat and return to Farley.

At the time, John “Johnny B” Foulks drove for Harry Shady, a trucker from Cascade. TR and Johnny would cover each other to meet capacity and demand fluctuations.

One day I wanted to ride to Chicago with Johnny B. Must have been 1965 or ’66 thereabouts. John was pretty new to Farley at the time. Since he wasn’t “from here”, Mom did a background investigation through Aunt Alvina down at the bank. Alvina gave Johnny an A+ rating and I got to ride with Johnny to Chicago. Driving a white IH 4000 COE with red trim and an 8-track player. I got hooked on country music that trip. Johnny had the classic truck tapes. I mostly remember Red Sovine - Phantom 309. A Kiss and the Keys. Six Days on the Road. Looping over and over. I wrote an essay in high school about that trip.

RIP, Johnny. Keep the shiny side up!