Harold Rowland sits inside his small office alongside State Highway 22 just west of Wewahitchka.
A small black-and-white television plays as Rowland leans back in his chair surrounded by mechanical manuals, an assortment of small parts and other odds and ends.
He jokes that he was about to fall asleep when a customer walks in.
The customer is looking to buy some metal angle pieces and Rowland grabs a tape measure and a notepad and gingerly makes his way through his shop.
“It looks like a junk place, which it is,” Rowland says before he laughs.
Rowland jots down the dimensions that the customer is looking for and heads back to his office to calculate the price as the customer patiently waits.
As the customer leaves, Rowland explains what customer was looking for and says that he will be back a little later to pick the metal up.
Rowland was born in Alabama in 1930.
As a young child, Rowland and his family moved to Jay, in Santa Rosa County, to a farm where Rowland would grow up.
After graduating from Jay High School, Rowland would move to Pensacola where he would receive training in the banking industry and in 1950 he would begin working in a bank in Pensacola.
A few years later Rowland would be drawn to a bank in Milton before he would return to Jay to manage the branch there.
After a positional disagreement, Rowland said he acted like a young man and when offered a position in a bank Wewahitchka in 1960 he took it.
He settled into work at the bank, but after costs started piling up on an investment operation he had, Rowland made his way into the woods of Wewahitchka to figure out what was going on.
His crew was repeatedly calling in a Caterpillar machinery representative down to Wewahitchka to work on a wench that was malfunctioning.
After looking at the part, Rowland discovered that the problem could be solved with a simple quarter turn of a nut depending on moisture conditions.
After that day, Rowland never went back to the bank and 50 years later he is still working on machines.
“They’re like a puzzle,” Rowland said when asked why he liked working on different pieces of equipment.
Since leaving the bank, Rowland has taught himself how to weld and work on a wide assortment of machines and their parts.
Nearing 87, Rowland shows no signs of slowing down.
He has a son who has already retired, as well as a daughter who is near retirement, but when asked if retirement is in his future Rowland shrugs off the idea.
“Here I can decide what I want to do, it may be wrong, but I can decide what I want to do,” said Rowland. “It may not be good for me either. The only thing I have to do is to be sure to keep a record and pay the tax people, and not build anything illegal knowing it.”
Although he still gets by, Rowland has slowed a bit.
He has a full-time helper at his shop and his lunchtime breaks have gotten a little bit longer, but he said that he still enjoys going to work.
“It gives me an excuse to leave the house and do something,” Rowland said.
And though his memory may take a little more time to jog than it used to, Rowland can still find anything he has stored in his shop, which was once the first in line pump station to a pipeline that ran from Port St. Joe to the north.
Walking among rusty equipment, Rowland scans for a specific piece. Nearing the back of his property Rowland points, before mentioning that this is the wench that first pulled him away from an air-conditioned office.
Rowland then goes over exactly how the piece of equipment works, making the motions with his aging hands that he first made over 50 years ago, still sharp as ever.