Saturday, March 29, 2003

Every morning, around 5:30, our neighbor comes over to have coffee with my husband. Since he is also a farm manager for the same corporation, they often do a lot of farming while sipping their hot brews. Although I'm an early riser, I am not a morning person and normally I hear and see very little until I've consumed a pint or so of coffee and have stared at the wall for a bit. This morning was one of the few times that I was awake enough to actually hear some of their conversation.

They were discussing the trials and tribulations of having farm labor. Hubby was telling Jeffrey (the neighbor) about the Mexican laborers that his grandfather used to have brought in by the busloads during the spring to chop cotton and again in the fall to pick it. Not being able to pronounce their names and the laborers not being able to tell them how, they devised a system for keeping up with what was owed to which by giving them a bingo number as soon as they stepped off the bus. They were paid, in cash, at the end of every work day, no number, no pay.

One of the long standing problems with some of the farm labor down here in the delta is having them show up for work after a day off. After working hellous hours all week, usually the first thing they do on a day off is buy beer or whiskey and spend their leisure time getting drunk and partying. Then, come Monday morning, the hangovers make it torture to get up and return to the fields.

Hubby says that EVERY Monday morning, while the immigrant labor was working, the sheriff's office would call with a list of bingo numbers and his grandfather would go to town to get the offenders out of jail so they could get back to work.

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