Welcome to the

Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

About Me

My photo
Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Southern Snow

January 11, 2014 1:45 pm Kitchen Post Mills, Vermont One evening at our local Applebee's ( Applebee's at Brentwood ) where we had become regulars--well, at least once a week for wings and a brew, we got talking with a nice young 20 something fellow who said he was headed home for the weekend. We asked where home was and he said just north of Huntsville in Alabama. It seems it was cotton harvest time and he was needed to help his Dad and brothers with the work. He showed us pictures on one of those small hand-held gadgets. The machinery was huge and the bales, big and round made the guys standing beside it look like miniature plastic figures from a Lego set. I said to Bill " Let's go this weekend and check it out!" Jeff, one of our friends laughed and said " You're kidding, right?" Bill and I said " No, we've never seen it and Bill is an Ag guy and I just like seeing new things." A few days later, Jean, one of our neighbors who grew up in Alabama was equally amused. Nevertheless, on Saturday, Nov 2 off we went down the Nolensville Road once more toward Huntsville. As we neared the Tennessee line we had not seen any cotton fields but we crossed into Alabama hoping they would start showing up--especially since we passed a Cotton gin with some very large freight car sized bales out front. We continued south but the area became more populated and built up and Bill did not want to wind up in Huntsville. He insisted on turning back into Tennessee saying that we would head west on that side of the border and should find something. Well, as the navigator I saw that there were no roads heading west in Alabama before we reached Huntsville so I agreed reluctantly to his plan. I'd wanted to go to Newcastle where the young man's family lived be he had not wanted to go that far east. Having not seen any cotton on the Tennessee side I was not very happy nor very optimistic that we would manage to see the harvest. As we drove north in Hazel Grove I happened to see some activity far off to the right of the road. It looked as though it might be harvesting and so we ran down a side road and came to huge fields of cotton. I simply cannot imagine what the Antebellum South must have looked like with the huge plantations given over almost entirely to cotton. We parked the car and walked to the field that was being harvested and watched the truck dump the cotton into a large rectangular container. A man jumped in and seemed to spread the material and then he jumped out and lowered a large plate that tamped the cotton down tightly. When that process ended one side of the container dropped down and the bale was slid out onto a waiting flat bed trailer--I would assume to be taken to that cotton gin or one like it somewhere locally. We returned to the main road and watched as the huge machine harvesting came right at us, followed by a tractor pulling a mower. When these two machines passed over the ground they left a swath of perfectly cleaned land--except for some cotton fluff, when this field was totally worked there would be no evidence of it ever having been planted with the crop that make the South so rich. Watching the speed with which this mechanized process progressed, it was also impossible not to think of the thousands of field slaves that picked this crop by hand only 150 years ago. In beauty and fascination this agricultural endeavor ranked favorably with the wheat harvest I'd seen in Iowa a few Falls back. Where this one was chocolate brown stems with soft, white puffs looking like flowers, that one was all golden sunshine and fields with toy tractors and other machinery moving back and forth almost in slow motion. Having gotten our fill of an age old agricultural process we headed west to Pulaski, Tennessee to visit the Trail of Tears Memorial. This was one of the places I'd chatted with a fellow at the Pow-Wow earlier in our visit to Nashville. The story of that relocation is just so horrendous and the sculpture showing a family making the trek is very powerful. Looking at the map of the various routes taken and having been in so many of the areas where they exist, brings home the tragedy brought on by greed and English-based attitude of superiority of our earliest settlers. I could not walk a few yards over some of the terrain those who made it to Oklahoma had to traverse. Pulaski is also the sight of the execution of the Nathan Hale of the South, Sam Davis. His home is in Smyrna, Tn but since it was getting late and we probably would not get there before it closed we didn't attempt to visit. We did, however, see his statue on the town square and discovered, when reading about him, that there is another at the Statehouse in Nashville. I'm afraid though, that Sam will have to be the subject of another adventure of the future.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Davis As the day drew to a close we took the Trace once more to home. Happy to have learned a bit more about our country and its people. And so, I'll close for now. Later KandB

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kt;
    Hope all is well. Had a good report from my oncologist this week about the shrinkage of my primary tumor. That's good news to have.
    I enjoyed your blog and please stop by my blog and say hi.