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Date:7/22/2014 8:45:03 PM
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Pickin' Pickles, Part II
Last time I wrote about how pickles became the main summer crop at La Ferme Sabloneuse. We Truckey's weren't the only ones. Two of our adjoining neighbors put in pickle fields of their own and even our aged uncle and aunt, Tom and Gladys, rented land from Pa one year and put in an acre of their own. Misery loves company, and so we couldn't help but be interested in the efforts of our fellow pickle pickers. Their experiences were the same as ours. Uncle Tom and Aunt Gladys were at a disadvantage. They were in their sixties and the strain of picking in that sun everyday was overwhelming. Fortunately for them, when their grandchildren visited them that Summer from Lower Michigan, they were immediately set to work out in that miserable acre of sand, pig weed, and pickles.

One hot day, worse than most, we kids were practically wailing in misery as we finished our last rows, begging those who had already finished to help us finish with our work. In return, Ma and Donna, who were done with their rows, were yelling at us to suck it up and just pick. It must've sounded like something out of Dante's Inferno. Later that day, when we Truckey's were finally done and were back in the house, our cousin (Tom's and Gladys' nephew) came in to visit and said that when we were wailing and hollering out in the field, old Tom was resting on a pail in the shade of his adjoining patch and as he heard our ruckus, said to himself, "They're gone . . . and I'm goin' next!"

As it turned out, Uncle Tom finally offered to sell the field back to Pa in the mid-season. Pa, rightly realizing that his wife and children would crack, refused the offer. (I suspect that he also saw the irony in buying back land that he already owned!) Another year we had to help another neighbor pick her field. It was discouraging for us kids to finish our own field, and then go and pick somewhere else. Nonetheless, we made over a thousand dollars among us that year. A remarkable amount of money, considering the year, the soil, and quality of the pickers. More about this next time. --Gary
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