Here is the video I promised. As far as I am aware it is the only video ever recorded of him plowing. We grew up poor and never had a movie camera and until a few years ago I never knew it existed. I had some second cousins from up north that sent a dvd to my Mom which they had filmed while visiting over the years and there were several short sections of us. It’s not the highest quality, but it is precious to me.
In the video Pa is plowing with an old jenny we had with me trotting along beside him as happy as a pig in slop. This was new ground we had broke the year before in the creek bottom below our house. When you see him jerking the plow it is because he was hitting roots and you can see us going down into swells in the ground. In the years that followed the field was eventually leveled out and was a great place to raise crops. This year it was very rough and spotty. The corn you see him pulling was just thinning it out. We usually thinned it much smaller, but since this was such a poor stand we had procrastinated.
I walked many a mile looking that jenny in the behind as i grew older and I don’t regret a single moment. We still have every single piece of the mule drawn equipment too except for the breaking plow he gave to my cousin William.
In the picture above you can see the old jenny and Pa’s old truck. In the background behind the corn you can see a bit of the barn too. Precious memories.
For years beyond count our family had raised cotton. I even have a few pictures of the old cotton fields. I was lucky I guess. The year I turned 13 the family stopped raising cotton, so I never had to pick except that one fall. You can’t imagine how long those rows were until you are facing them with a pick sack strap cutting into your shoulders while you dragged that huge sack down the middle behind you. Fingers bloody, back aching, sweat stinging your eyes and making your clothes cling to you and still I smile remembering hearing Ma singing those old hymns while she picked. You get to the end of the row and there was blessed shade and you could grab the old tin can off the stub beside the spring and take a long drink of the coolest, sweetest water you have ever tasted. A couple of drinks, a can poured over your head, then start another row.
Life was hard. Life was tough.
Life was good.