Friday, May 7, 2010

High Cotton (or Picking Cotton with Mama)

When I was in grade school, I used to go to the cotton fields after school and all day on Saturday to pick cotton with my mother. Sometimes I would tell my mother I was really thirsty from working in the hot sun and go back to the big trailer where they piled the cotton and where they kept the water. I would get a drink and then end up playing under the trailer with the other kids. Of course this did not last long because my mother would find me and switch me all the way back to the cotton fields to work more. All the other “cotton pickers” would laugh because of my loud yelling and crying, knowing that I was just faking it.

Even though I was young, I learned to pick cotton fast, but I could not pick as fast as my mother. She was a hard worker and wonderful mother. She could sure pick cotton and cook. Even though she spanked me many times, she loved me! I did not have a dad, but I had a wonderful mom who taught me to work hard, be generous, respect others, love blacks, and have compassion for the poor even though we were poor.

I remember when I needed a pair of shoes and she said, “I am sorry Douglas, but we do not have money to buy shoes. You will have to go bare foot a few more weeks.”

The following Sunday at church when the offering plate went by, my mom put in a $5 bill. I said, “Mom, we do have money!”

She answered, “Oh no Douglas, this is not our money; it is God’s.”

So, I like the song, “High Cotton”. It is not completely accurate as I never had a daddy, but I sure had a mama who loved God:

“High Cotton”

We didn’t know the times were lean
Round our house the grass was green
It didn’t seem like things were all that bad

I bet we walked a thousand miles
Chopin’ cotton and pushin’ plows
And learnin’ how to give it all we had

As life went on the years went by
I saw the light in Daddy’s eyes
And felt the love in mama’s hands

The kept us warm and kept us fed
Taught us how to look ahead
Now lookin’ back I understand

We were walkin’ in high cotton
Old times there are not forgotten
Those fertile fields are never far away
We were walkin’ in high cotton
Old times there are not forgotten
Leavin’ home was the hardest thing we ever faced.

When Sunday mornings rolled around
We dressed up in hand-me downs
Just in time together with the church
Sometimes I think how long it’s been
And how it impressed me then
It was the only day my daddy wouldn’t work.

We were walkin’ in high cotton

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