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Theo's Happy Memory # 1

"Theo Loves His Family"

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Author's Notes

"Memoir of working on a farm to help the family as a young boy."

0430 Military time, 8 year old Theo would wake up, clean up, put on his dungarees, and fill up with whatever Mama bought that week.  By 0515 get to the corner for the farm truck to come by.

Everyone there was speaking another language, yet they came to know him well. Theo was from an old mold, they said. They all remembered starting work so young in "the Old Country." Some never spent a day in school. Life was to be worked, not discussed. "Putting in the back acre" meant just that: get to it! 

"Mama didn't make you with lazy bones son! So come give us a hand. There is work to be done!" Papa would chant.

Theo knew long before 8, that in life, there was no time to wait. Just get in and live it, and love it, till you were worn out and sore. So getting a hand to climb up onto that farm truck with the big guys was nothing new. They would all hang on for the ride, which was partly on dirt. Too many to sit. Not even a kid.

Another truck was already at the farm, with women of all ages, ready to go too!  We all could pick snap green beans. You'd pick them till your hands could take no more. So you'd go get your last bushel registered for the day, then go back and pick some more. The truck came back twice for us. The early one was around 1300 hrs. for the newcomers who were getting use to the pace, and knew this wasn't a race. But by the end of harvest season, almost nobody went home early.  We all worked till 4, 'cuz  most of us couldn't work anymore. By the time we got paid by the bushel and a peck, we'd all have sweat on our necks. Theo would get home and give his Mama his pay. None would come back.

He would shower while Mama made us something to eat. Theo wanted to look like a "sclan scrub" 'cuz he felt lucky got have the joy of his Mama's cooking. He even did that when Sis' got big and did the cooking some days. It would help her feel appreciated, and that she was doing her part.

He wasn't paid with money. It was when we all sat down to eat that Mama would say, "You can all thank Theo for today's special treat. When supper is over, we got cherry pie to eat!" Every day was different. Theo always has his eye on a homemade squash pie when it was in season. The pumpkin always sold when taken to market. So we ate squash. His cousins down south said they ate sweet potato pie, or sweet yams! 

"Now that was hard work," Theo's Papa would say. Planting in the Spring, with the heat as high as 80 degrees! He'd tell us how fast you'd develop blisters, and soon you'd have calluses. Nothing to laugh at! So thank your lucky stars, we didn't have to work that hard every day in the blistering heat! Then we thanked the good lord for giving us the opportunity to work, and to eat, we thought, as well as anybody on the earth!  Pleased with our day, and that we all had done our part, we'd hit the sack, and we would stay there till the rooster crowed, or that farm truck would soon come back.

Not everyone had chickens and a rooster. That's a whole other story. 

Written by Tiger
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