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Thanks to All of Our Farmers

Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.


Writer’s note - - - I used the term Ford tractor in this hub. No. I do not endorse or prod you to buy one. This term was strictly for editorial uses. Thanks. Kenneth

The small farmer. Our landscape was formerly dotted with mules, tractors, and the people, men, women, and children didn’t “throw in” for a physical exercise, but for their very livelihood. No joke. I should know. My late dad was once a small farmer with a small amount of acreage.

And he worked. Much of that work was tough manual labor in the hot summer sun and the crisp autumn days when harvest time arrived. He didn’t complain. He was a prideful man, especially when he knew that the work of his hands would be helping his family to have lives. I am so sorry that I didn’t tell him before he passed.

Logistically speaking, Ninety-one percentof small U.S. farms are categorized as small—gross cash farm income (GCFI) of less than $250,000. Around 60 percent of these small farms are very small, producing GCFI of less than $10,000. These very small non-commercial farms, in some respects, exist independently. This is the scientific facts. And according to these searches, small farms stil do exist in our United States. Great!


Time was when I was kid, I was awakened by the aroma of coffee brewing in my momma’s kitchen and my dad retrieving stove wood that he kept cut and stored near the back of our house. In the meantime I was trying to get dressed to face the drudgery of another primary grade school day. And I thought that I did manual labor. Even now a surge of shame runs up and down my spine for even thinking such trash. But I always try to remember and maintain those so-called “tough” memories so I can really know how it was back in 1961.

By 6 a.m., dad would drive to his boss’ home and fire-up her Ford tractor for another day’s planting or plowing as the case may be. You see, dad was a great sharecropper and if you need me to explain, then you can Google that term. I’m sure that the phrase does exist, just like small farms.

Sure. I get it. Things have been upside down in my early life, and I can assume that in 2022, it is not proper, maybe inappropriate to refer to a man (or woman) to be a sharecropper. Sorry to be this way, but so what? Things are what they are as well as people. Time was that I have witnessed my dad get off of his tractor from the 12-hours of work and he did not have a dry stitch in his shirt. His face was burned tan by the Alabama summer sun. But I never understood what made him want to do this work.

I did not talk about those airborne monsters, the horse-size mosquitoes. These beauties always attacked my dad in or off of the tractor. I tell you that these winged-terrors were so big that they could have eaten a full-size rabbit for an appetizer and an adult horse for the main course. I did see my dad take them on and didn’t quit his work. I won’t talk about the red ants that loved to eat at him whenever they could.

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Then a few years ago, I learned about ethics. And dad had the best work ethics of anyone that I met in my adult life. Sure, this sounds harsh, but in my working years, people like dad did not have so much as an ethic work life, much less self-respect. I worked with a few folks who wanted to know when payday arrived and when lunch could be taken. After a month, they vaporized. Gone.

My mom could cook the best-tasting food that anyone ever put in their mouth. I should know. Breakfast with my parents in that year was actually the highlight of my day. Dad and mom talked about their activities for the day and what work that dad had planned to do and while I hope that I am not misleading you, dad’s sharecropping work did not stop until sundown. Momma, my idea of a prototype Betty Crocker homemaker, put Betty to shame. When dad returned home, my parents and myself sat down to another banquet entitled supper. Oh, how I recall this wonderful times.

If you are reading this, you might draw the conclusion that dad’s work was hard and so boring. And you would be oh so wrong. There was always a new problem to be solved. Adversaries such as mechanical trouble with the tractor or some part of the mechanical planters that would sometimes be out of sync. I mostly would sit and watch dad face the problems with two strong hands and a sharp mind. Momma was the same way.

Why, really, did I write this piece? Certainly not for my own glory or monetary blessing. This was written to give my parents and all of those who own and work their small farms in 2022 and doing it all without one word of thanks or appreciation. If I have written a piece of his nature in my early days of Hubpages, then consider this another big amount of sincere honor that these farmers and my parents are to be held up in a worthy spotlight.

God knows that they deserve it.

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© 2022 Kenneth Avery

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