Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cropping and cropped knitting.

When I was 14, we lived in rural North Carolina, near Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. My dad had just retired from the service and he and my mom chose Goldsboro for a permanent home. (Not so permanent - we ended up moving multiple times after that, but moving gets in your blood when you do it every two years or so.)

Money was very tight, so I took a job stringing, cropping, and barning tobacco on a Wayne County farm. The pay was amazing, and amazingly helpful for the family. Boiling sun, sandy soil, sticky tobacco worms, and loooonnnng hours made each week an endurance test. There were a few compensations. The farmer's wife made delicious, hearty lunches for the summer workers, most of whom were teenagers and college kids looking for big bucks over the summer. And we were able to pick cantelopes and watermelons to take home once they ripened.

Tobacco on the stalk is a dense, variegated green. I never smoked cigarettes, despite constant exposure during my youth. Having to take cured tobacco out of the smokehouses put the kibosh on any interest I may have ever had in the habit. That smell gets EVERYWHERE.

When I was choosing the yarn for the Lion Brand Cropped Raglan Cardigan, the olive green just struck a chord. I won't say cropping tobacco was my happiest memory of childhood. But it's there.

I've had a lifetime of making do and doing what's necessary to get by. Somehow, I learned to appreciate the effort

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