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Date:10/31/2014 5:09:58 AM
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The Farmwife on Listening to Your Elders, Part I
As far back as time goes, stories have been handed down from generation to generation – family traditions, historical events and even in some cases, myths and legends. As I was growing up, I heard what I thought was more than my share – with the first and foremost being ‘Listen to Your Elders’. As a young teenager, some of that sage advice was downright embarrassing; especially when, as I was walking out the door, my mother would issue this age-old advice: “I hope you have clean underwear on, just in case you get in a wreck!” I’ve never been sure if that was out of concern of some ER attendant seeing me in dirty underclothes, or if it was her way of psyching me into driving very, very safely. Some of it was still almost cliché, like ‘You will catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar’. Just why on earth did I want a bunch of flies hanging around?’

It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that listening to those older than me began making sense. I opened my ears and was amazed at what I was hearing. What I was actually listening to was very sage advice that could carry me through the rest of my years. When we moved to the farm, I knew that my glasses weren’t rose-colored, but there was no doubt they had a pink tint to them. As a city girl, I had a lot to learn about my new lifestyle. So as soon as I could, I knew I was going to be asking advice from those who had lived the farming life before me.
Here in the South, cotton farming has long been a way of life. My knowledge and understanding of it stemmed from what I read in my history books. But a visit with Mrs. Jack brought it to life. She told of stories of walking the rows with a sack on her back, reaching in and picking those beautiful fluffy balls. But as she explained to me, sometimes beauty has thorns. Without wearing gloves, the sharp needle-like point to the cotton bolls could rip a pickers hands to shreds in a matter of minutes. She also told me that life was the same way. I needed to have a gentle hand and wear sturdy gloves in order to avoid the stabs that life could send.
Please scroll up for Part II
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