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Harvest Time

Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2010, at 4:23 PM

The white cotton fields serve as a reminder it is harvest time in our part of the country. I love to drive through the countryside when the fields are white and think about growing up in the country on the farm.

As I have shared before, I spent my early years in the 1950s in Illinois and moved to Manila in 1961. My parents moved the family back home where my dad grew up. My dad joined his dad in the spring for the planting season.

I have to admit the country did not look good to me at the time. We did enjoy running and playing along the ditches. We had never seen a snake, a pig close up, cotton or tractors.

It was a different world and it took some getting used to. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a party-line telephone.

In our old world we had lived within a block of a playground, a few blocks of a park, a bowling alley, skating rink, and really enjoyed ice skating in the winter time. We had friends who lived on the block and were available most any time of the day for play.

If we had moved to town, I don't think it would have been so different, but moving to the country was a change.

I took notice of the countryside and decided it really was a beautiful place when I saw my first white cotton field.

Like most kids it did not take us long to make the change from city kids to country kids. I think most children have the ability to adapt much more quickly than older people. I rarely say "you guys" anymore or call a soda a pop.

I learned from listening to my grandparents and other people who lived off the land that harvest time has always been the best time of year. Families used to work together. People would come from all around to pick cotton by hand. As a matter of fact, my parents met when my mother's family came to Manila to pick cotton on my dad's family farm. Songs have been written about the old cotton fields back home and even the boll weevils were used as lyrics to a song.

I talked about the cotton harvest, but there are many other crops being harvested in this area also. Each is important to our agriculture industry. Farming has come a long way in comparison to the "good old days." We have fewer farms, but the size has continued to grow and the equipment has kept up with the demands. With the equipment today you had better look at the fields quickly because the harvest does not take very long.

We should be appreciative to our farmers who continue to provide us with food and fiber. It takes a lot of dedication to deal with the elements year after year.

This area has more industry than it had in the 1950's, which is good, but we still need our farmers. Where would we be without them? A few farmers take care of the needs of the rest of us.

We can only hope they will have a bountiful harvest.

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Revis Blaylock has been on staff with the Manila Town Crier for over 35 years. She has enjoyed making friends in all the areas that the Town Crier covers. This blog contains her general ramblings about events throughout Buffalo Island. She welcomes your comments and ideas for future stories.
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