At 85, Carl Hees is spry, full of energy, enthusiasm, and personality. With a big grin, and a need to stay busy, he is known for saying things like "Let's get 'er done, baby." or "Like Willie Nelson, I'm ready to hit the road."
Carl and his wife Ruth just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Carl usually wakes up at 2 a.m. and says morning is his favorite time of the day. Ruth isn't able to cook much anymore because she has Alzheimer's. But at 5 a.m. each morning, she toasts a single Eggo waffle with butter and honey for Carl and for herself.
Carl is away from home much of the day, farming with his son, running errands, and as an active member of The Order of the Eastern Star. He leaves his phone number on the kitchen counter for Ruth who stays at home.
Carl (left), between the tomato plants with great-grandson Mason, 1, and son Mike (right) on Mike's 350-acre farm in Barnett, Mo., Sept. 25, 2017. Some days Carl and his son Mike drive Mason to daycare in what they refer to as "The Grandpa Express."
"Double shovel, baby," Carl laughs as he grabs shovels for himself and son Mike. After retiring from the service station business in 1995 Carl began working on his son's 350-acre farm in Barnett, Mo. The two of them tend the farm together daily without any outside assistance.
Carl hitches a ride as Mike drives the tractor to the grain silo they are cleaning out for the corn harvest.
In preparation for the corn harvest, Carl climbs into the grain silo to sweep out the last of the wheat.
To keep the bugs away while in storage, Carl adds insecticide to the corn as it comes out of the gravity flow and feeds into the grain silo.
Carl takes a break to clean his face after a dusty day of harvesting corn.
Carl hugs granddaughter Andrea on his 85th Birthday. He doesn't like to make a fuss, but agreed to let the family bring cake and ice cream to his house for an intimate celebration.
Around 9 p.m. Ruth tucks Carl into bed before getting into her bed and turning out the light.