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Out On The Mudline

At One Time Handshake Was Binding Contract

By W. P. Sissell

A Hand Shake Deal

  Mr. Cozort had traded with the former owners of the place, Dry Bayou, prior to our purchase. After talking with him, it seemed only right that we continue with the rental contract just as we were doing with Mr. Card and family. There was no contract drawn up and recorded—just a hand shake deal. It was now fall and Mr. Cozort had almost finished gathering his cotton crop and asked me to accompany him to the cotton buyer’s offices in Marks. After talking with several buyers we decided that Dave Vance had made the best offer and sold the entire crop.

  We took the check to the bank and cashed it. Standing at a wall counter there in the bank, we, at Cozort’s request, divided the money into piles, one for furnish, one for fertilizer, one for shares, etc. We picked up our respective piles and started out of the bank when I thought I saw a funny look on Cozort’s face. I immediately asked if something was wrong. His answer was, “You beat me out of a hundred dollars.” I turned quickly and went back to the table. There, with just a corner showing from under some scarp paper, was a hundred dollar bill. We had returned to the table before someone else found the missing bill. We didn’t even count our respective parts and both of us were happy.

The Cause

  You might wonder why I have interrupted a series of articles with the above story. Many of you have read the most recent issue of  Inside for Cattle Men and Beef Today containing articles of interest. If you do not take the magazine perhaps you can get your librarian to get a copy for you. Read the article, Eastern Livestock Fiasco. One of the largest cattle dealers in the country leaves farmers in 30 states empty handed. Producers in these states have been impacted by Eastern Livestock’s failure to clear more than $130 million in bad checks. We here, are not likely to receive any of these checks for our sales are sufficiently bonded. Eastern Livestock was bonded for $875,000, and some directions are given in the article as to what can be done about this problem.

  Can you imagine selling your cattle and getting a bad check in payment for them? My friend, Lee Rowsey, brought me this article. Although I take the magazine I had not gotten around to reading the total content.

  A following article, by the editor of the magazine, deals with our “hand shake and a smile,” that I talked about above. I might go on to say that, to some extent, this is most of our policy. Our Crowder Jones place was rented to Clayton Kennedy for 17 years, with never a written contract, to Ralph Monteith, following Kennedy, until Ralph retired. The same was true of the other Sissell farms, with three exceptions. I lost money on two of these exceptions.

  And now I must close and wish you a Happy New Year. The fireworks in the settlements around us now, boomed us to sleep last night. Sounded kind of like our 155 Howitzers in the distance.

  Our new great grandson, William Harrison Whitmire, has gone home with his parents in Jackson. They finally got around to letting me hold him—just for a few minutes.

  If I print this out, hurriedly, I’ll get to see the Mississippi State University vs University of Michigan game—the Gator Bowl..

  Do have a happy, healthy 2011, each of you.

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