He can’t remember every detail, but Wendell CPA David Williams does remember the summer of 1974 included lots of showers.
“My mom would make me hose off before I came inside,” he remembers. “That was the worst part.”
Williams was employed for one summer before college at a now-closed cow manure dehydration plant near Fayetteville.
“It was pretty low-key, no pressure (and) easy to keep up with everything and get the job done,” he said.
The plant he worked at would pick up cow manure, stack it about 12 feet high, run it through a dehydration machine, bag it, then send it down a line where employees would punch holes in it.
The plant bagged manure for several different companies, so the bags would be changed out, but the manure stayed the same.
Williams said he usually worked from about 7 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon – slightly longer than most summer job shifts in this day and age, but it wasn’t the worst thing about being on the job, he said.
There was no air conditioning in the building.
Again, Williams said, the simple fact that there wasn’t AC wasn’t the worst, it’s what happened because of the extra-hot temperature and subsequent sweating.
“Cow manure dust would get on you,” he said. “So as you would rehydrate, it would get stuck on you.
Williams’ father made him use an older truck because of how dirty he was coming home from work.
“As most people would say, it was a real crappy job,” he said.
Williams said he pursued the job only because he wanted some money for the summer. He went off to N.C. State that fall instead of taking the plant up on an offer to be trained for another position at the plant.
He would’ve been driving one of the machines that gathered the manure that came into the plant.
He declined, opting to stay with his plans to finish college.
The experience put money in his pocket that summer, but Williams said he didn’t take away anything particularly profound from the manure plant.
“The only thing I learned is that I didn’t want to do that particular job for the rest of my life,” he said. “It gave me incentive to continue my education.”