Had he lived, Daddy would’ve been 102 years old today, October 16. The son of a slave and the consummate farmer, George Rufus Bess loved his land, his livestock, and he always seemed to have a crop of some sort growing in the fields, some of which we helped plant, tend, and harvest.
I’m recalling the many mornings we were up before the crack of dawn to either pull tobacco plants for planting later in the day, or emptying the barn of tobacco that had cured to make room for that day’s harvest.
I’m recalling days spent pulling weeds from the corn, soybeans, tobacco, and the garden.
I’m recalling days spent removing the “suckers” from the tobacco stalks; we couldn’t have those suckers sucking the life from those prized tobacco leaves!
I’m also recalling evenings spent shelling peas or butter beans after a day in the tobacco field. If not shelling peas and butter beans, we’d sometimes shuck corn at the hog pen fence. Even if we weren’t thrilled to be doing it, the hogs loved it.
Hmmm, I’m even recalling the time we actually tried to ride the hogs! We’d jump on their backs while they were at the fence feeding. That didn’t work out too well, though, and we’d end up on the ground and hopefully not in a mud puddle.
Yes, Daddy was a farmer and I’m a farm girl. It wasn’t an easy life but as I’ve looked back over the years, there’s nothing I would take for these memories or for those experiences because they made me who I am.
I captured these pictures Sunday on my way to Daddy’s sister’s house and am posting them in his honor. Daddy died when I was 15 so we didn’t get to spend very many years together. I’m grateful, though, for the time we did have, for his love, and for his continued presence even after he transitioned.