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Remembering Your Father’s Work
Monday, November 18, 2013 by Sally Jo

Personal Background Investigation- Assignment #7

What kind of work did your father do? Did you ever want to follow his line of work?

Example from  LaVelle Pitts’ childhood

     My dad was a farmer along with a preacher and builder.  When I was around the age of four, I loved to follow my dad down the furrows when he plowed.  Even though he walked slowly, I would have to run every now and then to stay up.

I begged him to let me plow.  He would stop the mule and let me hold the Joe Harrow–a plow for working the peanuts.  This plow had iron spikes on two sides that fit over and on each side of the peanut rows.  It would loosen the dirt and turn over the young grass that was growing around the peanut plant. I could barely reach the plow handles and the mule walked too fast for me.

One of my tasks was to run to the house and get a quart jar of water from the well for my dad.  Another big thrill was when we stopped for lunch and unhooked the mule.  Dad would lift me up to sit  behind the harness on the mule’s neck and lead the mule to the barn.  I hung on to the gear around the mule’s neck and loved the ride to the barn and back to the field after lunch.

I wanted to help Dad do everything.  He taught me how to take the harness off the mule and put it on when we headed back to the field.  I really did very little because of my size, but he let me think I did.

One afternoon we returned to the barn early. Dad put the mule up and drug out an old Joe Harrow and got out his tools.  He was a good carpenter and even built several homes in the community.  He sawed and trimmed the Joe Harrow until I could stand behind the handles and walk without having to reach up and stand on my toes.

The next morning when we went to the field he hooked up Sam, the ox, and along with the mule we went out to the peanut field.  The ox is a fine working animal, but walks slowly.  That is why most farmers stopped using an ox and started using mules and horses for their farming.

We got out to the field and Dad hooked Sam up to my special Joe Harrow and put the plow lines in my little hands and said, “Go on son you can plow the row next to mine.”

We started off.  Dad let me go first and helped me plow the first row.  Then I got the hang of it and could make it down most of the row without toppling the plow over.

After two or three rows, I knew I had made it to big times.  Dad would let me go ahead and wait for me to get a big lead and then start the mule.  He would catch up and stop and wait for me to go on to another big lead before catching up again.

I had made it to the big boy world.  I felt six feet tall.  When I was with my dad, I copied everything he did.  I walked like him, spit like him, talked to the mule and the ox like him and even peed in the bushes at the end of the row, just like him.

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