Picking Cotton

Before harvest ...

It’s cotton-picking time in northwest Alabama. When we first moved here 13 years ago from middle Tennessee, my young daughters thought the cotton looked like snow on the fields this time of year — and I still think that! Farmers are in the midst of harvest right now, so the rest of us share the roads with hardworking traveling tractors and escaped flying cotton strands. Of course, everything’s all computerized and digitized in 2008, but many people who grew up country around here still remember picking by hand. I love driving by a mechanically harvested field with folks who know from experience

... and after.
... and after.

where the phrase “in high cotton”* comes from. They shake their heads and say in that “back-in-my-day” tone of voice, “Daddy would never have allowed us to leave the fields with so much cotton like that.”

But I love living someplace where tractors and cotton and dirt and gin (not the liquor!) reports on the morning radio are important.

* “In high cotton” means that the cotton plants are high enough so that you don’t have to stoop or bend over to pick it.

2 thoughts on “Picking Cotton

  1. Cathy

    I would like to use this picture of a cotton field ready for harvest in a book I am writing. I spent a whole day pulling cotton from a field like this in about 1950.

    How do I get your permission to use the picture. Certtainly I would cite your website with the photo.

    Thank you
    Sam

  2. You have brought back many memories of the cotton field I toiled and grew up in. I lived in Lower Peach Tree (Monroe County) and remember the spiritual being sung by cotton pickers. Wish I now had a recording of them. I became a scientist but always remember the life lessons in the cotton fields back home.

    Richard Haskew

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