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Tiff is Tough!
Posted by: Dan-MO
Date: January 20, 2006 10:32PM
I have in the past, told the story of my paternal grandfather on this forum. He made his living as a lead miner in the deep underground mines of South-Central Missouri. Before becoming a miner he fed his family during the depression days by working in the timber, making props for the same mines that he eventually worked in, and hacking out railroad ties with a cross cut saw and broadaxe. A derogatory slang term non local people sometime called a person who made his living this way was a Tie Hacker

My maternal grandfather also depended on mineral deposits to feed his family. But he never worked under the ground. He dug and sold barite, commonly referred to as tiff in this part of the country. Missouri has the largest deposits of shallow barite in the world, and until 20 years or so ago there were several large companies mining milling and processing it. For generations since my grandfather dug it by hand it has been the backbone of the local economy providing decent jobs for several generations. About 20 years ago large deposits were discovered in China and almost overnight the local industries died. It is used for a variety of industrial applications, and although there are still vast untapped deposits just a few feet underground, somehow environmentalists among others have made it more profitable for industries to import it from China than to dig and process it here.....This doesnt make much sence to me but I am getting away from my story.

A derogatory name given to the type of worker who worked the barite fields when my grandfather did from non-local people is Tiff Digger. This was a hard brutal way to make a living.Basicly you just started digging a hole with a pick and shovel and hoped you found some. It is a very heavy mineral and was sold by the ton. On a good day if he hit a good vein, he could dig a ton or more. After paying to have it hauled, this would fetch him a whopping five dollars a ton. Many days he would dig all day and not find a quarters worth.

Although my grandfather always provided a home for his family, many others were not so lucky. Entire families lived in small dirt floored diggers shacks" They followed the veins and when a vein played out, they tore down the shack and reassembled them where the next good vein was discovered. Entire familys,men,women.and children dug in the red clay from morning to night. They were mostly very poor and uneducated. Someone pinned the name tiff digger on the people who tried to survive in this way. To this day to call someone a tiff digger in this part of the country is to imply that they are uneducated, perhaps need a bath, shave or haircut, or are inbred hicks .Locals can get away with calling other locals tiff diggers.Heck,anyone who has been in these parts for a couple of generations or more is a child of or a grandchild of a digger. Some, like me, are honored to be called this and have been called much worse. But let a stranger from another town call someone this without smiling and he better be ready to fight.

Many, many, years ago I played middle linebacker on my high school football team. Not to brag, but I was good enough to get a few looks from college recruiters and a couple of scholarship offers which I didnt accept. On the week before a big game against our biggest rival, the coach of the rival school was quoted as saying that there was no way his team would lose to a bunch of tiff diggers". This was all the motivation we needed. On one of the first plays of the game a receiver came across the middle and stretched out to try and catch a high pass giving me the opportunity for the type of hit a linebacker dreams of. I drilled him with everything I had driving my helmet right into his exposed gut. The air went out of him like a ruptured balloon and as he lay on the ground retching into his facemask, gasping for air and urinating in his cup, one of my teammates leaned down and yelled TIFF IS TOUGH! The cheerleaders picked it up and chanted it the rest of the game. I dont remember the final score but we blew them away. It caught on and to this day it is the unofficial motto of the school football team

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2006 10:31AM by Royal.

Great story as usual !N/T
Posted by: ojm bc
Date: January 20, 2006 11:58PM

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good story dan,nothing like giving your opponent motivation.N/T
Posted by: david(tx)
Date: January 21, 2006 12:47AM

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Good story.....
Posted by: Lil Brother
Date: January 21, 2006 07:38AM
I always enjoy reading yours Dan. Where in Missouri do you live? My mother inlaw lives in Farmington where there is a mine of some type. A lot of Carol's relatives worked there years ago. Now it is closed and they give mining tours.

I think that Farmington houses a lot of criminals too, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the town.

Lil Brother:smile:

Sometime, provocation works against you. :) Great story Dan..N/T
Posted by: Mikie
Date: January 21, 2006 08:50AM

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Farmington is in my neighborhood.....
Posted by: Dan-MO
Date: January 21, 2006 10:51AM
I live about 25 miles west of there in a rural area.The closest town to me is the tiny town of Caledonia.I have many friends and relatives that live in Farmington.The mine you are talking about that is open to tours is actually in Bonne Terre-another town very near Farmington.My grandfather worked in those same mines! I posted a story about them a year or so ago...My wife is also from Bonne Terre.Small world!

Farmington is a very nice town as far as towns go with a low crime rate.There are lots of criminals there but they all live in the state prison located there.....:shrug::lol::lol:

Always great to hear from you Tom.

That's a great story, Dan.
Posted by: Arkie John
Date: January 22, 2006 12:33AM
I could feel the 'sweetness' crunch of that hit.

I know you loved it, God help him! :) <><


Hey Dan.....
Posted by: Lil Brother
Date: January 22, 2006 08:25AM
My wife ask me to ask you if your wife was related to any Detrings, Landolts, or Faircloths. Her great uncle Earl Faircloth worked in the Bonne Terre mine for years before actually giving the tours there in later years. It IS a small world. I hope you are doing well Dan.

God Bless,

Lil Brother :smile:

Wonderful story, Dan! We think we have it so hard
Posted by: Sunny
Date: January 22, 2006 03:26PM
sometimes, but our grandparents, great grandparents and etc. really had a tough time making a living. At least they worked and supported their families.

I could hear the crowd cheer as the guy jumped up in the air and you nailed him! :)

Now there is a history lesson! That is very interesting. Thanks for
Posted by: Royal
Date: January 22, 2006 04:00PM
taking the time to post it buddy!!

Re: Tiff is Tough!
Posted by: alsway
Date: February 20, 2006 06:56PM
Great story and good HIT.:THUMBUP:

Dan, very educational and enjoyable reading, thank you! :)N/T
Posted by: Kelley (Texas)
Date: February 20, 2006 09:09PM

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