Tobacco Road

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Summer in the banana belt, sweltering heat
despite the intermittent shade,
sun glaring off the narrow paved road,
humidity rising in waves,
leaving clammy beads on skin.

Ripened tobacco leaves picked and loaded into
horse drawn "boats" on steel sled skids.

Smells of curing tobacco steams
in the almost breezeless summer air.

A car slowly approaches the tobacco kiln,
the machine table crew gathers to hear the news

"Work's stopped and done for the day, all the kiln's are full, filled ones not ready for emptying,
not yet completely cured."

We hoot and hollar, somebody turns up the radio music.
We race for the water tower, and the wash up tank.
Primers, already in from the field, are dousing each other with buckets

"Early start tomorrow, don't forget" says the owner. We file out and down the tobacco lane, in
pick-up trucks racing, tires squealing, some going as far as the CNE
that's on in the big city.

"You young-uns got too much energy," shouts the old hired hand, the tobacco curing expert man.
"Somebody aught to put you all back to work real quick!"

We high tailed it outta there, before anybody got any wise ideas.

At sixteen you could always think of a better
use of a hot summer's day, not far from the beach.

Writing by Regina Stemberger

Photo "Avenue in early summertime" by Per Ola Wiberg ~ Powi

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