"My pappy before me and his pappy before him went deep inside mother earth, bringing out the coal that lights the World". My name is Charles and I am proud to say I Am A Coal Miner! Going under the ground today is a world away from what my Grandfather and Father had to endure just to make a living. Dirty, damp, and dangers beyond belief. From hand digging with a pick and shovel in a seam less than 3 feet tall, to setting charges to break up the face, and working 16 hour shifts just to earn a living. Most of the young bucks that are now entering the mines don't really understand the rich history and the numbers of miners who gave up their lives to keep the lights on. Today, mining has become safer but we still need to train and practice safety first. I remember my grand pappy telling stories about the old Sewell Mine. He was a young strapping lad of 21 with everything to prove. For generations, his family went deep in the earth to earn a living wage. Money was tight and most miners worked for next to nothing. Paid by the load, most miners had to work several miles deep and usually only got two loads a day. After paying for his pick, lamp, and hopper cart, his take home pay was just enough to pay the rent on his three room house and some left over for food and tobacco. Life was tough and many of his friends died young living widows to care for their children. He always said, "hard work pays off" and I hold to that myself. My father told me that his father got up early each day to walk to the face of the mine. He carried all the tools needed for the day as well as his lunch bucket filled with good things to eat. His carbide lamp was lit just before he entered the mine to ride down the bucket to the bottom of the shaft. His hopper cart was waiting for him. It usually took him at least half and hour to reach the section of the mine that the night shift had finished. Most days he would have to set a charge in order to get the coal off the face. This process began with his hand drill boring into the rich seam of coal. This process is required because the coal must be placed in the hopper and taken out of the mine so he could get paid. Next He would insert a stick of dynamite in the drilled hole and attach the wires to a plunger and back away taking it with him to a safe distance away. After setting off the charge, He had to wait until the dust and methane gas cleared to go back to the site. Once He arrived, the coal, which had come off the wall, was then placed in the hopper and taken to the top to be weighed. This process take place each time He went down. Day after day, week after week, year after year. That was the way it was done. Today, thanks to modern machinery, we can process more tonnage of coal each hour then He could mine in a week.