I have known for a long time that when he was about 14 or 15, Hubby worked in the peach orchards in South Carolina. He would spend the entire summer with relatives, working in the peaches and earning enough money to buy his own clothes for the upcoming school year. It's where he was when he contracted hepatitis and almost died.
Tonight for some reason I asked him what he did in the peach orchards. I had pictured him up on a ladder, picking peaches and toting them back to the peach shed for packaging, bowed down with the weight of his.... sack? basket? What DO they carry peaches in?
Apparently, however, his main job was "breaking baskets." The peach baskets came in towering 12-foot-high stacks of nested baskets, and one of his jobs was to take a pole or stick of some sort (I really did listen to his story, honest) and whack the baskets to break them apart.
He said if they worked past midnight, they would get a hamburger and a Pepsi. Generous of them, don't you think?
He described the peach process to me a little bit. Evidently this was no backyard peach stand, but a large operation complete with conveyor belts. He said there was a machine that packed the peaches into the baskets, except for the top layer. There were women whose job it was to pick out the best looking peaches, and these went into a metal ring of some sort. The other peaches went into the basket, and then the ring was turned upside down on the basket so that the nicest peaches were on top.
Doesn't that seem a little dishonest?
I guess if I were a peach grower I would do it too.
The things you learn after almost 13 years of marriage....