Thursday, June 12, 2014

From First Light to Dark

My dad grew up on a farm during the depression.  He was one of 7 children. 

When he was old enough, and that was a lot younger in those days when kids were encouraged to act like adults at a young age, he would often hire himself out as a farm worker during harvest season.

 He didn't make a lot of money, no one did in those days.  But, he was fed wonderful meals and could eat until he couldn't eat anymore.

 At home, that was not always the case.  Remember the saying "He who eats the fastest gets the most."?  Well that, and getting a hold of the serving dishes first, could make all the differece as to how much you got to eat that meal.  Now, you understand, nobody went hungry but, you weren't exactly full either. 

What you ate often depended on what was in abundance in the garden.  Dad remembers eating a lot of fried green beans when they had a bumper crop of beans one summer.  Green beans are not a favorite vegetable to this day.

Some of the farmers living around my dad when he was a boy were Amish.  They often hired help during harvest and boy, can the Amish cook!  And they cook plenty for everyone.  A growing boy's dream.

To earn those abundant meals, dad worked from first light to dark.  Not a moment could be wasted.  Wasted time meant the possibility of wasted food or wasting some of that year's cash crop.  Times were hard and waste had to be avoided.

If they were working from first light to dark here in England this summer they would have LONG, LONG hours.  It gets light at about 4:00 a.m. and dark is about 10:15 p.m.  Count them up:  over 18 hours of hard work each day!  Day after day.  Most of us would wilt just at the thought.

But when my dad talks about those days now all he can remember is enjoying all that good food.

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