Monday, September 20, 2004

Beautiful yet Deadly

While traveling around the beautiful country side last week I noticed the beautiful golden yellow of the burley tobacco fields. Honestly, this crop is gorgeous when it is ready for harvest. Vivid yellow postage stamp acres.

I come from a rural community where school could not start until after the harvest. If you tried to get kids into class any earlier, you were wasting your time. They were needed at home to cut and house the tobacco, which is accomplished typically end of August till mid-September. Even when I was young, the kids from the farms all participated in the growing and selling of tobacco...(pronounced tobacca)...and thereby the profits! I was astonished to here that so and so had made a thousand dollars! He was all of 14! It is hard, back breaking, yuckky work.

Tobacco is not very profitable anymore. Sometimes the government pays the farmers not to grow it! Those postage stamp fields are smaller and smaller and more spread out. Efforts have been made to introduce replacement crops such as fruits and more vegetables. Wineries have become very vogue in central Kentucky. Can you think of anything better than your own personal winery?

When I see these tobacco fields I also think of those farm boys of my youth. The old trucks they drove with the pitch fork and brooms placed in the back. White t-shirts and brown skin. The smell of sweat, bourbon and cigarette smoke.

No comments: