1928 - Alderson High School - 1968




Barry Worrell  - June 9, 2013

The clouds nestle down on the mountains as I look out over the sloping meadow that once was a field of alfalfa. In my teen years this field seemed to be level and huge. It was level enough to get a tractor, a mower, a tedder and a bailer with a wagon over it. And it probably consisted of 7-10 or so acres. Two times a summer Rick Hughes, others and I would follow Dad around behind the tractor putting bales of alfalfa hay on the wagons.

The sheep loved the alfalfa. Sheep were dad's favorite but I don't see them in the fields any more. It took a lot of time and effort around sheep particularly in the lambing season. Now they still put up hay for the cattle. Some of the bales now are big round bales that they either get on a truck or trailer somehow to take to the barn or put little covers on and leave in the fields.

 I have since seen fields in Ohio and other parts of the Midwest that go on forever as far as the eye can see. And they are really level compared to that alfalfa field. But I have also seen the narrow valleys of McDowell County West Virginia, which are flood plains between creeks and the roads, and railroads that are always purported to be out of the floodplain. And those lands make the field at the farm seem flat. So it is perspective based on your reference point from experience that determines what is flat and what is large. Though I declare that I have traveled far and wide and not seen another like my buddy Rick Hughes. By any perspective or by any reference point he is unique and a keeper. I think there are others that could attest to the same thing. 

We couldn't talk about that time with out talking about chewing tobacco in the fields and just about any place else. Today it is prohibited to use any form of tobacco in public places and on school board property. I don't even know if major league ball players still dip and chew. Back then there were fewer restrictions. But chewing tobacco was an addictive delightful vice. We started out with Redman because it was sweet and then move up to Beechnut and later plug tobacco that was stronger. Chewing tobacco was pretty much going along with the crowd as the majority or it seemed pretty close to the majority chewed tobacco. I quit some years ago as I think Rick did. But we always talked about chewing about as much as we did playing ball. Now that seems kind of odd but also understandable as simple things stood out more in those times.

My mind's eye can now imagine a much skinner me and a skinner Rick each with a big chew in and sweaty to be the high blazes in the hot summer sun on that sloping (if you are from Iowa) or flat (if you are from McDowell County) alfalfa field and Dad driving the tractor doing what he really loved to do and that was farm. 


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