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Cotton timePosted Monday, October 24, 2011, at 7:43 AM
Recently on my way south to show some southern real estate, I noticed all the cotton fields ready for picking. Of course, you know by now it doesn't take much for my mind to start wandering, and wander it did that day.
I started thinking back to when I was eight or nine and we lived south of the airport on Gene and Mary Ulen's farm. Mom would gather us kids, five of us, and take us to the cotton patch. I had my own little sack and always wanted to pick as much as Mom. But, that was never to
be. She was a champion. Probably my sack was just too small.
Along with being just a child, another reason I couldn't pick very much was because of those great big spiders that spun their web from one row to the other. I would come upon one of those critters and freeze. Mom said I let out a scream each time I encountered one. I believe they chose my row to build on just because they knew how frightened I was of them. Those things were huge!
Another time we picked cotton was in a field in what is now Tyson's parking lot. Yes, that's right, that entire parking lot was a cotton patch. Another patch was on Clements Street by Monarch Feed Mill. My brother Farrell, my sister Linda and I picked those fields when we were a little older than when we lived on the Ulen farm.
Also, as I looked at the cotton, I kept thinking how times have changed. Back when we, and some of you, were picking, the cotton was so much taller. I suppose they have changed the nature of cotton to get it to grow low to the ground for the large equipment in use in today's world. Of course, I'm not a farmer, that's just my thoughts.
Then my mind wandered back even further to when I was six or seven and Dad worked for George Hampton. I had never seen the irrigation process in use. Of course, wherever Dad was, that's where I was gonna try to be. He and George were irrigating and I walked down to where they were working. The field was full of water and to me, it looked like a huge ditch, it
seemed so deep. Of course, that thought made me think about another ditch, which is another story.
Oh well, what the heck. I'll go ahead and tell you that story now.
When I was about four, we lived somewhere around Essex. You can tell we moved around quite a bit in my younger years and I'm glad we did, for it gave me so many memories.
As I said earlier, I was Dad's shadow when I was young. One particular day, Dad, my grandfather and I went to town to get my Aunt Polly a birthday gift. I suppose we probably went to Dexter, I'm not sure. We purchased a little brush, comb and mirrow set for her. You ladies remember those.
I was in the back, and back then you were allowed to stand up. So I was standing on the floor board, huddled over Dad's shoulder, holding the little gift set tightly and protectively under my arm. I decided to sit down next to the door, and I don't have a clue what was going through my mind,
but I reached over and turned the door handle and, oh, my gosh! I went flying out the door, fell to the road, rolling toward what I believed to be the biggest ditch I had ever seen.
I thought I was never going to stop rolling and would roll right into that big body of water. When I did stop rolling, I looked up and there went Dad and Grandpa just b-bopping down the road. My little heart nearly raced out of my chest. I just knew my beloved Dad and Grandpa would never turn around and find me and I would never get to see Mom again. I was running as fast as my little legs would carry me, chasing after them. Then all at once the car came to a stop and turned around.
I knew then my dad was coming to get me. What a relief! The little gift set for Aunt Polly was still under my arm.
During the whole event, which was probably no more than a total of three to five minutes, I never turned loose of it. I don't know if Aunt Polly remembers her gift or not, but I sure do.
The funny thing is that when I saw that ditch as an adult, it was so small, sort of like just a cut in the side of the road. But that day it may as well have been the ocean.
See ya next time somewhere in a korner.
REMEMBER: One always wonders about roads not taken. (Warren Christopher)
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Kathleen is a resident of Dexter. She was born in Indiana, but her parents moved their family back to the Dexter area when she was three. Other than three years she and her husband, Collin, lived in St. Charles, Mo. and ten years in Birmingham, Alabama, she has spent her life in Dexter. As you can tell, Kathleen is a people person and believes in giving credit to whom credit is due. Thus, the reason for her hero/heroine column every other week in Kathleen's Korner. As you can tell, she also like to have fun, most of the time at her own expense. Kathleen (Grubbs) is a 1964 graduate of Dexter High School and invites her friends to her "Korner."