Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Slow Lane {A Gift}...

Recently, I had the opportunity to write about my hometown... favorite memories, things I miss...you know the type, right?
I worked and worked on that "story" to get it just right and well-said in the correct amount of words.
After I declared it D-O-N-E, my brain wouldn't stop working on it.  Memory after memory came flooding back and I must confess, I have willingly wallowed in them these past 10 days.

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A few days ago, I was driving home and got stuck in a VERY slow line of traffic.  And, Y'all, I cannot stand to drive the speed limit or below! The speed limit was at least 45 on this road and possibly 55, but we were going maybe 25 (and that's a generous estimate).
Eventually the car in front of me pulled around in the left lane and passed the slow-poke.  This revealed the very full tobacco trailer being pulled by a pick-up truck.

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The trailer was heaped high with golden leaves and was swaying back and forth in the lane.  I didn't want to put pressure on the driver, but lordy, 25 miles per hour is slow! We were in a no-passing zone and I sensed he couldn't speed up at all due to the swaying trailer.
So I waited my turn and calmly crept along until I could pass. Bless his heart, he pulled off the road to let me get by as soon as he saw an opening for me!

That 25 mile per hour ride, though brief in all reality, was a gift.  It gave me a chance to remember things I hadn't thought of in many years.  It gave me a chance to see a sight I hadn't seen (or even thought of) in years.  It made me realize my kids don't even know what tobacco is!

I grew up around tobacco fields.
My grandmother lived on land owned by tobacco farmers.  The barns in her backyard weren't hers, but we played in them as kids.  Mostly used for storage and not for drying tobacco, they became playgrounds for all the grand-kids.
There were tons of empty tobacco trailers in and adjacent to these barns.

These trailers were long and skinny rectangles open on top and down one of the long sides, but closed on the bottom and the other 3 sides.  There were burlap curtain type things along the long open side; I suppose to help keep the tobacco in once it was loaded.  The best thing about these trailers was they only had one "set" of wheels located right smack in the middle.  The trailers were stored on a slant; the bottom resting on the ground on one end and up in the air at the other end.  We made them into huge see-saws {we never called them teeter-totters here, but maybe that makes more sense to you} by running to one end to tip it down and then pop it back up again running to the other end! 

I looked online for images to show you this, but couldn't find anything very close to what I remember.

This is what I found...

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Notice they fixed that whole see-saw thing by placing a longer trailer hitch at one end!

I can't even tell you how many of these trailers I have seen or been in during my lifetime.
I grew up next to a field that rotated tobacco, corn, cotton, and soybeans.  When they talked about crop rotation in social studies or science class, I understood perfectly.  All I had to do was look out my kitchen window!

And I wonder if my kids will learn about such things.  In this day of genetically modified everything, clothes made of synthetic fabrics, and the almighty dollar being everyone's bottom line, do we even practice crop rotation anymore?

Thankfully, they do know what real cotton looks like when it grows. AND I HOPE Sweetpea still gets an accurate depiction of NC history this year like I did when I was in the 4th grade.  

I'm not sure I would let my kids play in tobacco trailers the way I did with my brother and cousins, but it was sure was fun back then. 

It's crazy how that one story has unlocked a huge treasure of memories for me!
So y'all stay tuned - I just may have to write about some more of them!

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