The Best Damn Cotton Picker Ever
Yesterday, I went about it much as any other until my husband came in to watch the news. There was a story about “How old should one be before they can mow a lawn?”. So, I went out to mow and visit with my grandfather, Papa, I call him. We talked about when I started to mow. Going back to the time I was 5, I was pushing the mower with him. When I was 9, I got my first riding mower for the farm. I was in heaven !!!!
We talked about the gardens we planted. Long ago we use to plant corn and as we would sprinkle “Sugar” on the seeds, ya know to make them sweet, we told the corn how big it was going to get and how good it was going to be when we ate it. I only really remember the corn because I didn’t like the other vegies he planted.
I told him that I find myself today telling my flowers how beautiful they will be when they grow and how people will love to come see them. I talk to my grass and tell it what a great job of keeping the weeds at bay……Funny how those little things stick with us.
I thought about his life when he was 9. Dumped on the streets by parents who no longer wanted him. Back in those days it seems it was all to common place. Now, living on the streets , alone and with only a 3rd grade education
He was a small person in size, so this made him the perfect “Cotton Picker”. Low to the ground, he toughened his fingers and became the best damn cotton picker ever. He was invited back year after year by the same couple for seasonal work until he left for the Navy. Some 50 years later he reconnected with them and they still remembered their best cotton picker they ever had.
Every time I have heard this story about his younger days, he has never dwelled on the fact that no one wanted him. Instead, he’s proud of who he became in spite of it. He’s never said an unkind word to anyone, because he knows how that can hurt. When he owned his restaurants, he never turned anyone away, especially if they had no money.
As far as grandfathers go……There is none other like him…..They truly broke the mold on that character.
There is but one bit of advice I would like to pass along, if I may. For those of you who think to yourself when talking to your elders that you have heard this story or that a thousand times……RECORD IT !!!
One day you will long to hear it again .
Papa knows what he gave us growing up. Not just a farm, riding mower, garden and horses. He gave us love, stability, honor, commitment, honesty, pride, and even humility. He carried these attributes with him on a daily basis including talking to every living thing with heart. And because of that we (my sisters and I ) thrived and became who we are today.
Until we meet again in the Garden....RIP ...Oct.1989
Thank you Papa, I love you