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Mike great post.reminds me of my youth working the potato fields up north. First you would pick up the potatoes dug up by the harvester and left on top of the ground with a billion rocks mixed in with them. Then you would sort them out by size and grade after they went through the washer. and then you would sack them dependant on that days orders in either 5 lb, 10 lb, 20 lb or 50 lb sacks and stack them neatly on pallets in the trucks for delivery. It seemed that the older you got the harder you had to work as it was the older boys who stacked the trucks while the younger ones did the sorting. Nothing like stacking 50 lb bags of potatoes all day for a $1.35 an hour from sun up till sun down in the months of july and august.
Thankfully picking season only lasted 3-4 weeks at the most. The bad part about it was that by the time I ended my career picking potatoes modern pickers did all the work except the washin g and sorting. You still had to bag and stack by hand though so the up and comers still had to work their tails off loading trucks. All the same back then my paycheck for a 60 hr week, a small fortune of 81.00 or so (no overtime pay on the farm as there were no unions to collective bargin for us kids back then) LOL. allowed me the freedom of buying a motorcycle at the age of 14 and my first car when I was 15. I truely felt I was blessed when as a 10th grader I could drive myself to school because I had a drivers permit at 15 so I could get to and from my farm jobs until I turned 16 and could get a unrestricted one. What power that gave me at 15 to be one of a small group of us that could drive.
You would not believe how many of us we could fit in that car. We must have looked like that clown car in the circus as it seemed to take all day to get everyone out of my car in the mornings before school. Not to mention the fact that I never had to buy gas as everyone who rode in the car had to donate to the gas fund. Back then you could fill up an 18 gallon tank for about $4.00 (.22 cents a gallon) and buy bootleg smokes for .54 cents a pack from the corner gas station until dad found out that I was telling the owner I was picking them up for him. ( I did not like the brand dad smoked so I told him dad had changed brands) in youthful ignorance of what would happen when dad stopped in to buy his regular brand and the owner would inquire about me buying a different brand for him.
Ah the good old days!!!!!!
I did learn that mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and cleaning the garage wasn't all that bad.
BTW My memory is terrible as my family and friends will attest but as so many have told me, memories of bad experiences seem to stay forever.
Have a good one
Great memory, Mike. I heard about picking cotton from my parents, and now I hear about it from some of my husband's older siblings. I'm sure it was rough!
I had my kids digging cactus two summers ago during the drought before this one. The pasture had so little grass, you could see the patches of prickly pear much better. We were out there for only about an hour and a half a couple of times a week, and I tried to make it fun so they got to drive the riding lawn mower and a trailer from patch to patch and around the pasture.
I can't imagine being out in a cotton patch all day!
City slicker! No wonder you vote Democrat.
Been there too, truth is the Mexican migrants from the valley and Mexico finished behind us. Even picked cotton where the community center stands. The the machines put the cotton picketers out of work in the 60s.
Thanks for the kind words ,Rebecca
I thought cotton was a fabric.
Kidding! Made you look!
Very good post, Mike. More!