The Union Recorder

Columns

June 7, 2014

It was a cotton-picking good time

(Continued)

MILLEDGEVILLE —

I also seem to recall that a mule played one of the crucial roles in our version of agricultural entrepreneurship. Although I was not deemed old enough to actually have a working relationship with that filthy, ornery beast, I did witness some of the uses to which the mule was put. Best I could tell that typically meant pulling a heavy plow down the rows in order to keep weeds under control. I seem to remember that Daddy and the mule were in charge of that part of the operation.

Now, I was fortunate enough to become familiar with a farm utensil commonly known as a hoe. One of my jobs was to go down the rows after Daddy, the mule and the plow had done their thing and to destroy any and all weeds left behind. I think that was one of the definitions of manual labor to which I was assigned.

I also remember quite clearly that my first impression upon seeing the field full of young healthy plants for the first time was that of awe. Not only were those rows arrow straight but more importantly they stretched completely out of sight. Those rows extended over a hill and on into a neighboring county. Quite frankly I couldn’t see from one end to the other without the use of high-powered binoculars which had not been invented at that time.

The next phase was seeing those beautiful white balls of cotton burst out of the plants and it was a remarkable sight. Little did I know what the next task would be in terms of my role as a cotton plantation assistant.

That job turned out to be a picker of cotton. I was given a brown burlap sack and strict instructions to start down one of the monstrous rows and get each and every cotton boll off the plants. If I actually got to the end of a row my directive was to then turn around and come back down another row. As I headed out daddy said he would see me at sundown.

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