The Mill Man: Remembering Aubrey, with Dixie Lee

October 25, 2012 |

Second Creek, behind Reed’s Mill.

Friday evening of September 29, 2012, I recorded an interview with Dixie Lee Hoke, in Monroe County. Neither of us realized it at the time, but September 29th was the 23rd anniversary of her uncle Aubrey’s death. I’ve heard too much about this Aubrey not to wish with all my heart that I’d been able to meet him. He ran Reed’s Mill for over 60 years, grinding heirloom varieties of cornmeal, wheat and buckwheat from his farm.

I sat and held the recorder between us, the glass windows surrounding us showed the sun setting beyond Reed’s Mill, which sits just across the street. I figured Larry Mustain, Dixie’s cousin who owns the mill today, was just about now sitting down to dinner with his wife.

Here is one of Dixie’s final memories of her uncle, who passed away Sept 29, 1989.

Dixie: We’re not touching things anymore, except the keyboard. And I can remember when I’d milk a cow and bring the milk home in the bucket, how it was warm, like it had come out of the cow. And I can remember the feel of the zinc buckets that we used to bring the milk home in. Texture to me in farm environment is just very important.

The last, hmm, probably the last month that he lived, he asked me to take him over to his oats patch. Over on the Hogsett place. He wanted to check it to know whether it was time to call somebody to cut it. So I took him over, and he got out of the car. And he just ran his fingers through the grains of oat.

And he knew, he said, “It’s not quite ready yet.”


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