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Day Hands
by Thomas Givens

As a young kid in the late '40s and '50s, I hung out with my grandfather. I called him "Gangy" and just adored him. He lived close by our home, so I stayed with him quite a lot.

In addition to the tenants on the place, we had to get hands to do the "day" crop. This was the crop worked by my dad, and not the tenants. Gangy would get up before sun-up and drive into Ruleville to get the day hands, and I would go with him. They all lived in East Ruleville, and the only one I remember is Mamie.

The tenants also worked the day crop along with the day workers, and it was a joy to be down there with them. It was my job to keep them in water, and God forbid if the water wasn't iced. They would carry on and play the dozens. They all brought their meals with them. Their lunch was in different containers, mainly paper bags. To keep roaming dogs from foraging in the sacks, the day hands would take strings and tie the sacks up in trees.

You would not believe the stuff I learned being out there with those people. Nothing nasty, just common sense. These people were called Negroes back then, and what I learned from them is priceless. It was also my job to be out there during cotton picking time. I had to go out there and pick up the cotton sacks and load them over the hood of the Super "H" Farmall, haul them back to the cotton trailer, weigh'm up and tote them up. Those days are gone forever, never to be relived again.

Think about it.


Judge Tom Givens is a former Mississippi Deltan who now hangs his hat
in the hills of his native state. His memoirs are favorites at USADEEPSOUTH.

Here are a few:

The Halfway Store
Ben Johnson ~ actor
Kornfeld's Department Store

Write Tom at DeltaJudge2


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