This is the time of the year when most of the crops in this area are being harvested and it makes you realize what a true market basket we live in. We need to appreciate the farmers who struggled to get this far along, what with the drought and the heat.
Golden-yellow rice is being harvested as we speak, always with the threat of a hurricane looming in the Gulf. Some of us remember when it was a sort of contest, to see who brought in the first rice crop. Soybeans are a very healthy dark green now and sugarcane still has a way to go also; cotton, corn and pecans are more predominant north of here and sweet potatoes to the east, watermelons to the west.
It won’t be long before the area festivals will start up, each celebrating its own bounty. Fall always meant hopping the band bus and participating in all the festival parades.
It also meant that a certain portion of the school-aged students didn’t show up on time for the opening day of school. They were kept at home to help bring in the crops that the family had planted. I remember that the classes did a lot of review work the first week or so of school, until attendance came up to par.
School always started the day after Labor Day, so they had time to get most of the crops in before the kids came to school.
There were no uniforms, supply lists, regulations for shoes and book bags, umpteen boxes of Kleenex and no copy paper, as a need for that hadn’t been invented yet. And most students brought their lunches to school in a brown paper bag. No fancy insulated lunch boxes.
I remember the first lunchroom at Eunice High (the one that burned). The girls taking Home Economics in the Home Ec cottage across the street would cook and actually walk across the street with plate lunches in their hands, for the elementary classes. Eventually, they put a lunchroom down on the west end of the first floor hall.
As the food program grew, they hauled a pair of huge white buildings (rumored to be old Army barracks) next to the Home Ec cottage and the rest is history. They should erect a historical plaque on that corner in memory of the Beenie-Weenies that were served there.
Yes, my small relative, things were very different in the “old days” but it got some of us this far in life.
And we should all thank the Powers That Be, that we aren’t late for the opening of school because we have to pick cotton.