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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, February 10 2002

Picking potatoes

The joke sent in by Carol Long about the farmer and the boy picking potatoes made me laugh but it also brought back memories that weren't so funny. When I graduated from high school in 1957, jobs in this area were very scarce. In order to at least have spending money, I took whatever job I could find. One job always available in the fall was picking potatoes. Several times, I worked on farms in Indiana County but mostly I picked potatoes on the Bloom and Farabaugh farms in Cambria Township. I would arrive early, usually with friends, and wait in the morning chill till the farm owner or one of his employees came out. He would write down my name and give me a stack of small slips that would have my number on for that day.

I would soon be in the potato field with other workers picking potatoes from among the rocks and hunks of soil and putting the potatoes in a small basket. Each time I filled the basket, I would dump the potatoes into a burlap sack and fill the basket again. It took two baskets to fill a burlap bag, which was supposed to be a bushel. I would place a numbered slip on each bag anchored with a small rock. I would continue this back-breaking routine through the entire day. In the meantime, other workers would collect the number slips and load the bags of potatoes onto a truck. At the end of the day, the farmer would count my slips to determine how much to pay me. I don't remember what I received for each bushel. I just remember that it never seemed to be enough for the day's aches and pains. My personal high for one day was 100 bushels and I only picked that many because I worked in partnership with someone else.

My memories of picking potatoes aren't funny; rather, they are very unpleasant. Shuffling through rocks and soil all day broke my fingernails and cracked my knuckles. I couldn't work with gloves. Lifting and dumping the basket hundreds of times hurt my back. I have worked at many jobs since then, but none has been harder.


Just ask a kid

A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. He read, "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned to salt." His son asked, "What happened to the flea?"

•   •   •

A three-year-old boy went with his dad to see a litter of kittens. On returning home, he breathlessly informed his mother, "There were 2 boy kittens and 2 girl kittens." "How did you know?" his mother asked. "Daddy picked them up and looked underneath," he replied. "I think it's printed on the bottom."

Sent by Sallie Covolo

Thought for the day

No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.

— Aesop

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