Friday, October 25, 2013

Walter Will

I've been buying farm insurance from a local guy, Walter Will, who is an agent for Farm Family.  Aptly named.  They were a better bargain than the outfit I used for the year I owned the place but had not moved here.   Mr. Will likes to meet with his clients in person from time to time.  It had been seven years since he was out to the farm, largely because I kept putting him off.  I decided I better increase my coverage because $100,000 is hardly a pittance if I had to rebuild this massive barn, which is also my home.  I'm more worried about the sheep being out in the rain and cold than myself.  I could get ahold of a used double wide pretty quick, but building another barn is not so easy.  My Lilly is old, thin and frail now.  I don't think she would like living in a double wide.  I called the agency and Pat Will answered the phone- Mr. Will's wife.  Don't you love country living?   After she scolded me for not setting up an appointment sooner she said he would be out Monday at 5.  Monday afternoon I called to beg off, as I had just pulled in from NY Sheep and Wool in the wee hours and was seriously dragging after teaching all day.  She said Thursday and I said okay.  So I beat it home after school and let the sheep out to graze.  No baby goats stuck in the welded wire fence today.  The dogs were throwing themselves against the door so I got them out for an abbreviated walk.  I winced as I saw Mr. Will at the door as I was forcing the dogs back inside.  He looked so grim and serious and hardly smiled when I shook his hand and said come on in.  There is really no place to come on in where I live.  I'm working on it.  I told Mr. Will I need more insurance as I would never be able to replace this barn with the measly coverage I have.  He said that years ago he set my barn replacement value at $300 K and that wouldn't be enough now.  Trouble is, insurance costs a fortune.  I said let's walk outside.  I wanted to show off the magnificence of my barn and the only way to do that is to go out the North side and walk up the hill a little.  He grimly followed me.  I thought this guy should be an undertaker.  Why is he so glum?  Is it the paint job my barn needs?  The cats?  The chicken poop on the steps he walked up?  Surely he must have seen worse if he is a farm insurance agent.  I said you guys charge a fortune.  What do people do if their barns burn down?  He said they rebuild if they are insured or they go out of business.  No light small talk here.  Mr. Will is all business.  I said go ahead and double my coverage - an extra $600 a year.  It's a tax deductible business expense I figure, but you have to be making a profit in order to deduct anything, or you are further down in the red.   I don't know any small farmers who are not in the red, but then most farmers don't talk about their troubles.  We just carry the load.  I asked Mr. Will if I had to sign anything and he said no, he would take care of it.  So now, God forbid, if a rat chews on a wire and my barn burns down (unlikely to happen, thank you Kitty Cadre) I will be able to buy my double wide and a quickie Amish barn for Lilly.   I love my giant barn - all 40' by 240' feet of her.  I will never be able to take care of her they way I would like, but I would like to save the barn for whoever farms here next.  I hope it's someone who will have the means to give her a little stroking.  Oh, the stories this beautiful, classy structure could tell. 

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