2005-12-16 / Front Page

Bidding a farm farewell

Letting go is easier with memories to hold onto.
By Rachel Haynie



Sam and Betty McGregor welcomed bagpiper Richard Hodgkiss to set a traditional tone for Laurinton’s auld lang syne.Sam and Betty McGregor welcomed bagpiper Richard Hodgkiss to set a traditional tone for Laurinton’s auld lang syne. Sam and Betty McGregor always behaved more like stewards than owners of Laurinton Farm.

After developers purchased their land and the time to let go arrived, the McGregors wanted to pass along the legacy of Laurinton Farm. Instead of walking into the sunset, hand in hand, the devoted couple decided to throw a traditional Laurinton party, just as they had so many times before.

The McGregors targeted the Friday after Thanksgiving for the official closing of the farm. Already the last dairy cow had been trailered away. Developers were pulling up fence stakes as Sam McGregor went out to pick the last remaining soy beans.

The invitations that went out promised an opportunity to share and celebrate five generations of memories at Laurinton. Golfers could compete on Saturday for the Laurinton Cup, and all were invited to worship on Sunday at Shandon Presbyterian Church. Saturday evening, a barbeque dinner would be catered; Clemson ice cream was on the menu for dessert.

Centerpieces on the red-checkered table toppers are milk bottles, artifacts from the dairy farm. Inside, soy beans from the final crop hold fresh-cut greenery in place.Centerpieces on the red-checkered table toppers are milk bottles, artifacts from the dairy farm. Inside, soy beans from the final crop hold fresh-cut greenery in place. Responses came back from relatives as far away as Japan. On November 25, surrounded by McGregor Clan members by the dozens, the couple offered one last chance to roam the acreage that had sustained them all through good times, and some not so good.

Conjuring up memories was to be central to the event, but Sam McGregor took no chances that even one of the good stories would slip anyone’s mind.

He turned the carport wall into an expansive bulletin board, mounting newspaper stories about Laurinton that had appeared over the years. He gave out copies of the concise history he had penned.

In it he wrote it has been the boll weevil that turned the cotton farm turning into a dairy farm. The changing, evolving operation survived world wars, the Great Depression, Brucellosis, and numerous weak economies.

He admitted he had tried to give up dairy farming a time or two, but it was in his blood – and on his boots, so he just came at it a different way the next go ’round, and was successful.

He recalled the delights of being able to offer family children a ride on a pony or in a golf cart. The walk-in milk cooler worked equally well for chilling watermelons.

Children visiting Laurinton could pet a calf; at the right time might even see one born. Big doings on the farm involved the backyard swing, front porch talks, barbeques and churning ice cream

Being up close and personal with nature affected the McGregor children’s natural inquisitiveness, as well as their sense of service and stewardship. All five chose professions that involve helping others or making the earth a better place to be.

In his epilogue McGregor quoted Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish poet who lived two centuries ago.

“While there are leaves in the forest and foam on the river, McGregor despite them shall flourish forever.”

In something of a benediction he wrote: May we all face the future with the same enthusiasm, determination, spirit of togetherness, and love of God that enabled our ancestors, Angus and Mollie, to venture forth and face their unknown future in 1918.”

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