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Monday, November 12, 2012

A HARD DAYS DAY


Children Picking Cotton
courtesy photobucket.com

If you can picture a family that they themselves wouldn't call poor (they had some pride) but the word "poorly" might fit the bill.

Then you would be envisioning the folks I am mentioning; five girls in the mix, three in their teens, and two under ten. These girls were far out in the country with no money except what very little they could talk their father out of and he didn't have much to start with.  

I suppose if they had been more industrious they could have come up with a way of making some money like sewing quilts or raising chickens to sell eggs but they didn't.

About the only instance they could earn any money was when cotton picking time came. This was something anyone could do even little kids like me who was around five years old.

As it always happens when it is time to pick cotton it is also the hottest time of the year, and if the humidity gets up very high it is almost like trying to breathe water.

You show up a little after daylight, and get your sack that you are going to drag throughout the day. It will get heavier and heavier until it gets full enough to weigh. You didn't want to turn in a half sack due to the extra time it takes for the weighing and book keeping.

So the drudgery went on, picking for a penny a pound. Since the ground was poor and didn't produce a good crop,  the picking was that much harder to get your hundred pounds you hoped for.

Soon the sun begins to bear down and the dust and sweat gets into every crevice where your clothing touched the skin and the chafing causes the skin to be irritated producing pain. The only hope for relief is when the skin numbs out to where the pain is tolerable.

It is a long way by foot to the river and after a hard days work you settle for just washing up with a wash rag.
    
After some food, what is on your mind is the next days work and another dollar you will have to spend for dresses and shoes.

In society, there is a line drawn where the women above that line wore things like slips and underwear but our cotton pickers lived below that line and didn't often have money for those luxuries.

On this particular day it was as described as above and one of the girls doubled with pain. This excruciating pain was centered down on the right side and nothing would help ease it. It was several miles to the hospital and walking was out of the question.

There were one or two cars in the local area that ran part of the time and after three hours they were able to get some transportation. The ride itself was almost too much to bear for the dirt roads were filled with potholes and when ran over it would send a shot of pain throughout the whole body.

An hour later the search for a doctor began for he wasn't in his office and another hour was lost while the pain continued.  When the doctor examined the girl it was get her to the hospital now, both he and she raced to the operating room and he cut the burst appendix out. Though it was touch and go she recovered with a nasty scar as a reminder of the misfortunate happening.

What does a poor country farm family do when you have an unexpected bill for an operation and doctor bill presented to you?

You sell one of your milk cows and it will take a year to recover from this, but it is something you are forced to do because you pay your bills and you just do it.

As you think about the why of this situation and conclude  "It was just a hard day’s day."


This is a true story about my Aunt Minnie Hazel and is shared at Tell me a True Story:  http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/ 

Don’t miss out on my wife's special Christmas gift offer: my wife Hazel is offering a Bargain for her book:  Buy two get one free and free shipping.  Order two and you will receive three.

Note:  My continued story will be posted very soon chapter five. 

 

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