The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970 Page: 540
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
picking the cotton as rapidly as possible. And you are pulling an 8-foot
long cotton sack whose weight as you stuff it with cotton will finally
increase to 5o, 75, or 8o pounds.
To relieve your cramped back you put on your knee pads and
crawled through the field all the time picking cotton as fast as you can.
The knee pads may have been "store bought," i.e., they were of
heavy leather lined with felt, or they may have been heavy "ducking
cotton cloth pads Mama had made and stuffed with cotton. Store
bought leather knee pads or the "home made" type, the leather straps
or the heavy cotton strings holding them on would, after an hour or
so feel like it was cutting into the back of your leg, and your knee cap
would alternately feel numb or like it was being pushed through your
leg, now all the time your hands are snatching cotton as fast as pos-
sible. After an hour or so, you break out into a good country sweat.
It can be quite dry in Coryell County during cotton picking time, so
the sweat may blessedly cool you as it rapidly evaporated. It is not
unusual for your clothes to have white salt encrustations left from
sweat evaporation as the day wears on.
Finally, the cotton sack gets almost full, you shake the cotton down,
push it down by hand as you are not to waste time by making unneces-
sary trips to the wagon. Finally, however, the cursed cotton sack is full
and you must empty it. This is a "rest" only in the sense it is a change
from the damnable stooping and picking or crawling and picking, but
a welcome respite it is.
All you do is flip the 5o, 6o, or 70 pound sack over your shoulder
and trudge to the wagon where it is weighed, then you climb up in
the wagon, drag the loaded sack up and empty it.
Now, there may be a few minutes rest while you get a drink of
evaporation cooled water. We cooled the water generally by keeping
it in a jug that had an old sack sewed around it. We would wet this
wrapping sack as we filled the jug, then hang the jug in the shade under
the wagon. After an hour or so, if the day was dry and there was a
gentle breeze, the water could get delightfully cool.
If this trip to the wagon for sack emptying was near the middle of
the morning or the middle of the afternoon, you would eat a snack
that you had brought along or maybe if Mama wasn't too busy, she
would bring a snack to the field. And boy, did food taste good; sau-
sage, brown beans, biscuits, bacon, cookies, light bread rolls, anything
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970, periodical, 1970; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/m1/586/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.