A Farmer's Daughter
Growing Up A Farmer's Daughter
I grew up in the south and my dad was a farmer. Farming varies across dfferent parts of the south depending on the area and the type of soil in that area. We lived in Arkansas and even within that state, the types of crops grown depended on the area and the type of soil. My dad grew a variety of crops but the main ones were cotton and rice. In our area, there are a lot of rice farmers. So needless to say, when they start watering that rice, our mosquito population greatly multiplies. Like we don't have enough of those anyway.
My dad was a hard working farmer. He employed many people from our community as farmhands during different parts of the farming season. He was a very generous man and believed in helping others but also believed that they should help themselves as much as possible. So it was important to him that my sister and I learn the value of hard work and we did our share of work on the farm, too. My dad was not one to just hand us money without us having earned it. One year he decided that I needed to earn the money to buy my school clothes so all summer I sat on the back of a spray rig with several other farmhands spraying weeds in the bean fields while we were being pulled by a tractor. It was so hot, I thought I was going to die and I had the bright idea that I would wear a tank top and shorts to get a tan. Well, all that got me was sunburned. So after that, I covered every inch of skin I could and wore the widest brimmed hat I could find. When it came time to buy school clothes, that money sure was hard to let go of because it was money that I had earned. I didn't buy the most expensive jeans, I bought the cheaper jeans. I wanted MY money to last as long as possible.
One year, my mom decided that she wanted us to learn what chopping cotton was all about because she had done it when she was a kid. So she took my sister and I down to one of the cotton fields where the other farmhands were chopping and she showed us how to chop cotton. Of course, we weren't really chopping cotton, we were chopping the weeds that were growing in the cotton. We had been chopping several days when we had a little accident. Remember that I told you that it depends on the type of soil as to what crop will be grown. Well, in our area, we had a lot of "gumbo" soil. The only description I have is just plain sticky mud when it's wet. And when it's dry, it's just plain hard. In the particular field we were chopping, there were a lot of vines and they were just stubborn and hard to chop in that gumbo soil. I would get so aggravated with them. My mom always put my sister and I on the same row to chop and she would chop on the next row. Well, I was trying to chop a particularly stubborn vine and I got so aggravated with it that I took my hoe and raised it over my shoulder to come down on it pretty hard, unknowing that my sister was right behind me. I smacked her right between the eyes with my hoe. She was out cold. My mom packed us up and to the house we went. No more chopping cotton. Thank you!
But my dad always made sure that we knew the value of money. My dad was a generous man to my sister and I and a generous man in our community. He was the one that everyone came to when there was a problem because they trusted and respected him. He was a strong man and helped to make us strong women that know how to take care of ourselves! He passed away in 2006 of cancer but he farmed all his life as did his father and grandfather. I'm proud to have been a farmer's daughter!