Three things: This was hard, repetitive work. It was labor-intensive and needed many people in many places to get the process done properly. If you were surrounded by the right people, it wasn’t all bad. There were laughs and jokes and picking and teasing. And a little money at the end of the day.
In 2007 I wrote this Ode to the Passing of the Tobacco Barn.
The passing of time has made these barns obsolete
The workers who toiled under their shelters forgotten.
The way of life connected to them is just a shadow of a memory . . . wrapped in
a sweet tea and hot biscuit at lunch,
nabs and Red Rocks at break,
and blessed sleep at the end of a very tiring day.
With a dip of his hat the old barn bids adieu to me and you …
Held together by twine, kudzu and wisteria vines,
Logs give way to time tearing them down …
Some just tired of being, some ashamed of what they were.
Log on log, brick on brick, the industry was built
And it went on to build banks and churches and homes and schools.
Only to be forgotten. Hidden. Left to peek out at a new world beyond its reach.
Tobacco barns. Oh the secrets they hide. The laughter, the teasing. Where there was wearisome work in wind and rain.
Sad. Forsaken. Forgotten. Forlorn.
That’s the passing of the tobacco barn.
What in your culture has given way to something new?
What do you wish would disappear that hasn’t?
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