News 13 Special Report: Two Jobs Two Survive (Pt 1) - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

News 13 Special Report: Two Jobs Two Survive (Pt 1)

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The definition of the American dream differs for each person, but a struggling economy has made the dream of a successful and secure future hard for some to achieve.

Baby boomers have started to reach the age of retirement, but statistics show 3 out of 4 "boomers" don't want to quit working.

Is this by choice or necessity?

To find out, News 13 shadowed the daily life of one Panhandle man who said his reasons for working past retirement were greater than money

He said it's simply who he is.

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It's just after sunrise in Alford, Florida; population 489.

A morning fog covers the caution light town, nestled between coastlines and cow fields.

Alford is a slice of Americana; a throwback to a time where adventure is just beyond the rail road tracks and a church sign tells more truth than any daily horoscope.

It's where lifelong resident Eddie Barfield comes to work each day

"We open up around 7...unless we have grandkids and then it's maybe 7:15," said Barfield.

Eddie and his wife, Legatha, have welcomed customers to the Barfield Country Store since 2004, stocking citrus, specialty jams and your occasional gator head.

"We bought it as kind of an investment to have later on in life...That we could have a little bit of extra income coming in," he said.

At 67, Barfield is over the federal retirement age of 65, but this self-proclaimed grandpa is still working full time and said he doesn't see himself slowing down any time soon.

"To me, I enjoy work. I've worked since I was 13 years old. I've been blessed with good health, I'm thankful of that. But, to just sell out and quit, I don't think I could do that," said Barfield.

He's not alone; in fact, Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show  almost a third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 70 are still working. 

But why?

The theories range from Americans living longer, to seniors being fearful of retiring in a struggling economy.

The answer is simple for Barfield. He's finally living his own American Dream; one that bloomed over 50 years ago.

"I always wanted to have something in life. So, I started working hard. I started actually loading watermelons when I was 12 and 13 years old…for my future father in law," laughed Barfield.

That's were he met the love of his life, Legatha.

The first time I saw her she was 11 years old, and she was so beautiful even at 11 years old, I told her at the time I was going to marry her and she thought I was a little bit strange," said Barfield.

Several years and watermelon harvests later, Barfield married the farmers daughter and together the newlyweds experienced the challenges of starting out young.

"We didn't have much. We had a bed that my momma gave us and a chair that her momma gave us," he reminisced.

2 children, 3 grandchildren, and 47 years later, Barfield still has one goal; a vow that he made at 19 years old.

"I've always wanted to protect her and see after her," he said of his wife.

Which is why, today, he's working not just one job, but two.

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So, what does Barfield do in his second job and why does he keep it?

Check out part 2 of this News 13 special report, "Two Jobs to Survive."