The sun is up, it’s going to get too hot outside to work in a little while, I could hear my dad say, and off to work at the radiator shop he would go. As many of you, my siblings and I learned to work at an early age. Looking down those long rows of cotton early in the morning, one could see their reflection in the dew hanging on the edge of leaves. The hoes had been filed the evening before. I can still see the silver-colored edge and striated markings it left behind on the hoe as well as the metal shavings falling to the ground. There is a sparkle of that metal that still lingers in my mind today. Mom would say, “be careful, don’t chop your feet off”. I can remember the little straw hats with the red and white draw strings to keep them on our heads that mom had bought at M.E. Moses variety store. Mom would be wearing one of dads long-sleeved shirts, gloves and her own hat to keep from getting a sun burn. The coolness of the water left at the end of the row was certainly welcome. As the day grew longer and hotter, the dew on the leaves had long since dissipated. Red faces and blisters on the hands were a norm for the first few weeks of hoeing. These are memories my siblings and I share from time to time and have a complete understanding and a feeling of oneness and consolidation of our youth together. When the chopping season was over, it was time to wait until the fields where white as snow. It would soon be time to pull out the long white cotton sacks, gloves, jackets and begin to pull bolls, weigh the sacks, empty the cotton into an open trailer and begin again. There were no module builders. Vividly, my baby sister was on the back-end of my mother’s cotton sack, being dragged across the country. I can see my baby brother with his little brown tote sack that once held 100 pounds of grain, long since eaten by the pigs, pulling one boll at a time and gently placing it in his bag. It was a hard time, but it was beautiful.
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