Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8~


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ode to My Dad or The Lonely Fields

Found a new blog I like. Ang's Chicken Coop is about a lot of the things I enjoy reading about. I found it through another blog I really enjoy: Suzanne McMinn's Chickens in the Road Blog.

Now why would a Mexican like myself enjoy reading farming and chicken blogs so much? Well, friends, there's always a reason for everything, isn't there? I grew up during the 1970's going to school in a little farming/agricultural area in North Texas. My Dad was a simple, uneducated farm laborer. He worked the land, tilling and planting crops, and being a 'vaquero' working with cattle and horses. He was an inordinately hard working man. And I do mean hard working. He always got up at dawn and didn't get home till very late in the day. During harvest season, he'd be working in those fields well into the night. You may often hear Farmers tell of the hard work they put in to be able to keep their farms going. Well, I will tell you this, they very often forget to mention the quiet laborer doing all the back breaking work, trodding through the snow in sub freezing weather to make sure the livestock get their feed and hay, and in blistering hot days bending over and over countless times to get the irrigation tubes 'going' from the ditches into the neatly planted rows of cotton or sunflowers, or wheat, or whatever the crop was supposed to produce that year. He'd lug a ton of 'tubos' or heavy, thick irrigation pipes to the truck, and then he'd have to unload them again in other fields. Then there were the various duties that had to be carried out. Applying pesticides and fertilizers, always exposing himself to harmful chemicals. He wasn't able to don 'protection' garb to carry out those jobs. It wasn't offered to him. Back then it was probably unheard of. But I suspect it contributed to his and Mom's health problems.

Of course, the work was not done for free. My Dad was paid, not handsomely, but he was paid enough to support his family. It was a good thing my Mom was a very thrifty saver, and could squeeze miracles out of every weekly $50 paycheck. But then things got better, because by the time I was out of High School, he had been promoted to $120 weekly paychecks. Cost of living increases during the 70's you see. But he didn't complain because the farm owner provided free housing with all utilities paid. A humble abode of course. And on very good years, he'd get a nice Christmas bonus of about $500. Sometimes the arrangement was for him to get the proceeds from the cotton crop of a few acres .... usually up to about $1000. I know my Dad earned every single penny. So yes, it was a mutual understanding and a mutual effort, only my Dad was the one who put in the hard labor. Period. That's just the way it was.

So I grew up looking at what to me then seemed like huge lonely fields as far as the eye could see. On windy days, you could hear the howl of the wind as though it were someone crying. It always made me want to cry. And I remember the fields of sunflowers. Those were a beautiful sight to behold. Each plant always turning towards the sun.....ahh, yes, the girasol.

So when I found Ang's Chicken Coop blog and saw pictures of lonely fields, I had to add it to my reading list. Turns out as sad as those things may have seemed to me then, now I truly enjoy reading about agriculture and chickens, and farms, and all the things I used to want to get away from. Maybe because those were the things my Mom and Dad lived. The things they loved. I was just standing at the edge looking in at the painful picture. Mom and Dad were living a reality that they must have loved, or else they wouldn't have endured it for so long. I try to draw comfort from that thought.


glorv1 said...

Now I really got lost in your Ode to your Dad or The Lonely Fields. I like that, The Lonely Fields. Because in fact when there is no one around but you to look at the fields, it is like if you were alone in this world, just you, the wind, and the fields. Your dad was indeed a very hard worker and lucky your mama knew how to keep a budget. Times were hard during those days, but things did cost a lot less then now. God bless your dad and mom for all their hard work, and yaya, God bless you for sharing with us these wonderful memories that will always be with you. I'll stop by Ang's place, thanks. "The Lonely Fields," I love that. Take care

Persuaded said...

What a precious post... your parents sound like very special folk. Very special folk.

You know when you spoke of your father's hard work as a farm laborer, my mind went immediately to the laborers who work on the many farms around here. They spend long grueling hours working, working, working. We have many of their children come to our church's children's programs, and their life is so hard, even these days. I know of one boy who is only 12 years old- he works at a store on the weekends and on weeknights he babysits for his many younger siblings and cousins while the parents are out working on the farms. He is such a fine boy... I only hope he makes it to adulthood intact. It's so hard for them these days. I have such respect for hard working folks like these... and like your dad♥

Clever Karen said...

What a touching story! Thanks

Tea Time and Roses said...

Hello Dear Idalia,

Indeed a most lovely post. My dear sweet Mother often spoke of her parents working the fields, and as a little girl I still remember my grandparents little farm and my dear grandpa returning from the fields dusty and exhausted. What a hard working man your dear Dad was. It made me smile when you talked of your sweet Mom stretching $50.00 a week. I tell you our Moms could most certainly work miracles with the little monies they had. As children we really did not understand fully what our parents suffered many times to care for us, oh how they loved us so. Thank you so much for this beautiful post and tribute to your parents, just wonderful.

Enjoy a beautiful week my friend.




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