I’m a day or two behind on this, but then my blog is just behind anyway. I often have topics I wish to write about, but blogging is not high on my list of priorities lately…in fact it’s buried some where in a big pile of cotton laundry.
I’m sure many of my readers have seen the post made to the Hobby Lobby Facebook page. If not, here is the run down, (or you can read about it here https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/hobby-lobby-cotton-display-goes-viral-racist-192821026.html) Lady goes into Hobby Lobby, there she finds a vase of cotton for sale as a decoration. Lady gets her knickers in a knot and throws a tantrum. Others join her in being offended. Many think she is a nut, and say as much on her now viral post.
Here is my take on this whole thing.
When I see cotton as a decoration, my mind does not go to slaves. It doesn’t even leave this decade. My mind goes straight to my jeans. I’m grateful for cotton. Without it I’d be naked (so you should all be glad I have it!) My jeans, my T-shirt, my tennis shoes, my son’s diaper, my baby’s adorable onsie, my daughter’s flip flops, my sheets and pillow, my towels, my couch, my mattress, my car seats, my daughter’s doll, my ball cap, the money in my purse — yes, my dollar bills….. they are all made of, or with, cotton.
I’m so grateful for the farmers who raise cotton.
When I see cotton, I don’t think of slaves. I think of a man working from sun up, to well past sun down preparing a field for planting. I see his wife keeping supper warm for an extra 3 hours after the kids are fed and in bed; because tomorrow will be rain, so he has to finish that night. I see an agronomist missing his children’s first steps so he can help the farmer get the best yield. I see a farmer missing his son’s basketball games, because the work must be done.
I’m so grateful for farmers who raise cotton.
When I see cotton I don’t think of slaves. I think of a farmer getting paid at the end of a long, grueling summer. I see his relief… I see it flash quickly before he heads back the fields to prepare for the next crop, the next season, the next pay check. I see him do the math. He can pay off his production loans. He can’t buy new equipment to replace what is breaking down. But he can pay for ballet lessons for his daughter. He can put money in his son’s college fund. The son who is learning young how to operate equipment because they need the help. The son, he wants desperately to “do something else with his life” because farming is HARD. The son he also wants so badly, to want to stay on the farm and continue what he, and his dad, and his granddad have done for generations.
I’m so grateful we have cotton farmers.
When I see cotton, I don’t think of slaves. I breathe a sigh of relief that a farmer made it to harvest. Many don’t. A hail storm early in the season destroys the plants. Late season rains, stretch out and ruin the fibers. High winds blow the cotton across the country side, before it can be harvested. I see cotton and I think of gens in the Houston area, where great mountains of cotton sat in yards, waiting to be genned…and then floated and washed away in 55 inches of rain in just 4 days.
I’m grateful we have cotton.
When I see cotton, I don’t think slaves. I think of men — young and old, and often Hispanic — sometimes women too, spending long days in the fields hoeing weeds. Yes, chopping acres, upon acres of weeds out of cotton fields with a hoe. It’s hard work, but it feeds the kids. I see my husband’s grandmother, and my own, dragging heavy sacks through fields picking cotton to buy their own school clothes.
I’m grateful for cotton.
So, to the woman from Killeen, TX who is so caught in her own made up world of oppression:* I say, cotton doesn’t represent slavery. A vase of cotton represents more hard work and dedication than you will EVER be able to wrap your mind around. It represents more sacrifice than you can imagine.
Were slaves involved in growing cotton? You bet. They also raised tobacco and corn. They milked cows, and broke horses. Slavery was wrong. Racism is wrong. Throwing a tantrum because you are offended by a man’s life work is just as wrong, if not more so.
*I say that with great conviction. I don’t THINK she is being too sensitive. I KNOW she is. Her neighbors in Houston have lost everything. But her world is so small she needed something to complain about. She picked a decoration. A play pretty. A knick-knack. Nothing about this is so important she can’t live without it.
PS. I challenge anyone who disagrees with me to go a week without using a single cotton product. Do some research. Learn what farmer’s really have to do to feed and clothe you. What I wrote, is not a dramatic stretch of how things happen. It’s real. I’ve seen it. I’ve driven past the hail battered fields, with cotton floating in muddy puddles, and ached for the farmer. I’ve kept the suppers warm. It’s real. Farming is not easy. It’s not some romantic notion. It’s work. And you should be grateful, not whiny.