20 Reasons Why I Always Wanted to be a Farm Hand
A man and his mule: What a perfect team
Like my piece on me “Dreaming to Be a Janitor,” which was not meant for comedy purposes, this hub is not meant for that purpose either. But for a stern, painful-look in the mirror of my soul as I share with you another dream I had at age nine. An exciting-but-rough dream about being a farmhand and working on someone’s farm for a living.
Meager wages, room and board, working from daylight until dark—never knowing what a city looked like or smelled like. Just getting up, working like God intended, and going back to bed. Except on Sunday. This is the day of rest for God and farmhands like myself.
A happy farm hand and his mule
A farm hand in his cornfield
MY DREAM OF BENG A FARM HAND STARTS EARLY IN MY LIFE
The smell of freshly-tilled soil can do strange things to a boy’s mind. It did mine. I remember the very day I smelled freshly-tilled soil so fresh that the red worms who were living underneath were scurrying around trying to find a good hiding place. I left them be. But that aroma of freshly-tilled soil left its mark on my spirit, for it was at that span of time that I wanted more than owning the moon, to be just an unknown statistic among men, an honest and hard-working farmhand.
I never told my dad, who was a fantastic sharecropper, because he, like all parents, wanted more for me. Not that there was anything immoral about being a farmhand, it was just knowing how his logic stood, he would have supported my dreams if I had owned the ground I was tilling. I never bothered to tell my mother for she had enough on her mind with finishing the job of raising me.
I knew from observing my dad and his work that being a farmhand meant more than just rising before dawn and “working like a dog,” and going to bed at dark. There was hands cut and mangled with blood and calluses, fighting briars and other annoying weeds that can make an average farmhand go mad with frustration, but I recall thinking at age nine that “I” was not an average kid. But that was my own thinking.
The goal of a farm hand: Successful farming
My plan was eloquent and the work of a mastermind. I would go until I reached the sixth-grade. By now I would have mastered the “three R’s,” and most farmhands I knew never needed anything else in their life’s work. Not once did I see myself having to quote Chaucer or Poe’s “The Raven,” before I was allowed to work on an humble man’s spreading farmlands. So I was all set. When I reached the right age, eleven, I think it was, I would go to my dad and have a man-to-boy talk with him about my future.
And these . . .
A contented farm hand
Woody Guthrie's roots as a singing farmhand
Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and folk musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar.
His best-known song is "This Land Is Your Land." Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress.
Such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Hunter, Harry Chapin, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Andy Irvine, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, Jerry Garcia, Jay Farrar, Bob Weir, Jeff Tweedy, Bob Childers and Tom Paxton have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence.
Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression when Guthrie traveled with displaced farmers from Oklahoma to California and learned their traditional folk and blues songs, earning him the nickname the "Dust Bowl Troubadour."
Throughout his life Guthrie was associated with United States Communist groups,
though he was seemingly not a member of any.
“20 Reasons Why I Dreamed of Being a Farm hand"
20. Farmhands do not worry about being successful in society. And at age nine, I hated society.
19. Farmhands, if they choose, do not have to have a wife and family. Just the money they have saved.
18. I loved the feeling of working in wide-open spaces at this time of my life.
17. I didn’t like the idea of working inside a factory. It was too similar to a chicken coop.
16. If I wanted to sing softly or even hum a tune of my choice while I worked, I could do that without penalty.
15. There is something unseen and very noble about a man who works the soil with his hands.
14. I wouldn’t have to spend a lot on my clothes. Just overalls, jeans, gloves, boots, and a hat.
13. I thought God would give me a great idea for a book if I were working alone in a cottonfield.
12. I wouldn’t be accused of any wrong-doing since everyone would know where I was at all times.
11. I liked to hear and feel the sound of thunder and rain falling in a summer shower.
10. If a girl were to be in my future as a farmhand, I wouldn’t have to pretend I was someone I wasn’t.
9. Farmhands for some reason, carry a measure of respect from those who do not understand him or his work.
8. If I liked, I might sleep on the new-mown hay (that my boss had cut) during those hot summer nights.
7. I would get to eat regular meals with the humble-hearted farmer and his sweet wife. And she would whisper, “would you please read me some poetry when the mister goes to sleep?”
6. When my work in the fields was finished, I would do other work on my boss’ farm that needed doing.
5. Sometimes, I would think, that my boss appreciated my working without running my mouth so much that he would offer to give me a week off to show his appreciation.
4. I would be able to see all of the wildlife that God created long before he made mankind.
3. As I worked, I would teach myself all about the various minerals in the soil I was tending and the trees that surrounded the fields.
2. On Saturday nights, the farmer’s sweet wife would whisper to me after supper, “if you read me some more of that poetry you read to me last week, I will give you an extra piece of the apple pie we had for dessert tonight.”
1. If I liked, I would go to Sunday worship with the humble-hearted farmer and his sweet wife.
I never did have my talk with my dad. I just couldn’t bear the thought of him having a stroke from hearing all that I had planned for my future as a farmhand.