courtesy: hampton roads.com
i had some of these this morning for my breakfast.
delicious. full of nutrients. fresh. lovely.
and for lunch . . .
a gorgeous healthy fresh salad.
courtesy of: lksgrabbag.com
and so easy.
all i did was first go here . . .
clean. safe. presented beautifully to me in an air conditioned market.
and at pretty reasonable prices actually. considering.
seeing how i didn’t have to weed or treat the land or water or . . .
well. you see where i’m going! don’t you.
my day starts with fresh strawberries. or some other lovely fruit.
and a cup of black coffee.
and even before i retired some years ago . . .
i drove to my office in comfort after a morning shower and a good night’s sleep.
i got one hour for lunch. and if i worked overtime ~ i didn’t get paid for it ~
but i got “annual leave” for it according to the extra hours.
i have studied the ancient eastern philosophies for years now.
they are mostly about one thing.
each of the ‘paths’ are thousands of years old.
and they teach one thing.
sounds simple i know.
but in practice one of the hardest things to do. to constantly remember.
to be aware of everything. its cost. its value. its sacrifices.
this morning . . . looking at my beautiful strawberries in a snow white bowl . . .
so easily come by for me . . .
i began to think.
then i came to the computer and looked up some facts.
here’s where my berries came from.
here’s why i have them to eat.
here’s a life.
a black and white life.
blinding sun. day after day. unbearable heat. 5 minute break for water twice a day.
the word dehydration never enters into your employer’s mind.
a 30 minute lunch. that you’re expected to eat in the dirt of the rows.
it would take too long to walk to the shade of the vehicles.
besides you only have 30 short minutes and you’re too tired already.
and you have hours and hours and hours yet to pick.
and there is no shade .
you have been working since sun up. and you will work until sundown.
you will only be paid for 8 hours of work. because they can do that.
the companies that hire you can do that.
you will go home at dark to a shanty type abode.
sometimes it’s only bunks
and if you’re lucky . . . not so crowded
and if you’re a family . . . well . . . wow! a private (sort of) house . . .
there will be 1 tub of water for every 30 workers.
there will not be enough toilets. or even . . . as above . . . only outhouses.
there will be unsanitary conditions.
you will fix yourselves dinner of a sort. and no . . .
you will eat no fresh fruit or vegetables.
those are only for those of us you pick them for!
therefore you are malnourished. as are your children.
you will fix your “lunch” for the next day’s half hour break.
then you will fall exhausted with your aching back
onto a mattress that may or may not have sheets.
and this is also the life of your children.
you don’t have to worry about that.
you will no doubt not live to retirement age.
you have an average life expectancy of 49 years of age.
though some of you do of course live longer. longer to keep working.
there is no retirement plan.
you are subjected to poisonous pesticides and dangerous farm machinery
on a daily basis. for years.
you have long lingering effects to your health from the poison.
the fine to your employers for pesticide violations is only $370 dollars.
you have no health care.
and amazingly enough, contrary to most opinion due to the press
only about 11 % of you ever go to a doctor or medical center.
you make about 6 dollars and 17 cents an hour.
if you’re lucky you will make 7,000 or 8,000 dollars this year.
your children can work in the fields too.
in every other job in this country children under 17 can only work 3 hrs per week.
during the school season especially.
there are no rules for those who work in agriculture. no limits.
and children do work. because it takes everybody to just survive.
sometimes you have the courage to speak about it.
to hope that your voice might change your employer’s way of seeing you.
of seeing you as a human being instead of a machine that works for him.
a machine that is expected to live on nothing. and yet serve millions.
millions of others not interested in doing your job
but resenting you for being here and doing it.
your employer is a corporation. and a country. and well. it’s all very pointless.
you put food onto our tables.
you provide us with beautiful fruit. vegetables. lettuce.
we are angry with you because you ‘don’t belong here.’
you ‘are taking jobs from americans.’
i know many americans who are out of work. i do.
i personally know them.
and not a single one of those i know would be willing to do your job.
at your pay.
under your working conditions.
i don’t even think that’s really the argument here.
i think if they did do your work . . . as the okies did in the last great depression . . .
under the same old conditions by the way . . .
so bad that a classic masterpiece of a novel was written about them
“the grapes of wrath by john steinbeck” . . .
if they would consider doing your work . . .
would anything change?
i don’t know. i honestly don’t know.
but i know as americans ~ who truly think they’re bad off right now ~
they couldn’t or wouldn’t do what you do for long.
i know at my age now ~ i simply couldn’t do it. i would literally die out there.
and even if i were younger . . . spoiled as i am . . . i doubt i would.
yet many of you do it who are in your 40’s and a very few in your 50’s. if you’re lucky.
or … not so lucky.
who are we?
who are we in this country?
i refuse to be labeled. i am neither LEFT NOR RIGHT.
i couldn’t care less about stupid political affiliations.
i am sick to death of all the pompous pontifications on BOTH sides.
i care about humanity.
i care about human decency.
and there seems to be something terribly wrong about a nation
that eats like pigs at a trough
at the expense of other human beings. whatever their nationality.
i don’t care if they’re mexican . . . indians . . . irish . . . polish . . .
there is something terribly wrong with a nation
who pays this man who tortured dogs in an unspeakable way
and just happens to play with an odd shaped ball again
12 million 500 thousand dollars a year
just because he’s a football star
the top ten quarter backs all make in the upper millions every single year.
peyton manning is the highest. at 18 million.
and these guys
the ones who play with a round ball.
the same story. millions and millions.
all fair and square.
i guess. it you like that kind of thing.
and i’m not a bleeding heart.
i am a realist.
it is another interesting fact
that there has been a steady decline in farm workers.
they apparently have had enough. it’s not the great american dream after all.
they have moved into other jobs that most americans also don’t enjoy doing.
and therefore don’t do. not much anyway.
highway building. roofing. hard hard work and still in hell~like conditions.
but apparently it beats bending over for 14 to 16 hours a day in the dirt
of berries and fruit and vegetable fields for next to nothing.
and maybe the pay is a little bit more. maybe the living is a tiny bit easier.
maybe the children can even go to school.
it may be soon that machines will do the “picking” and there will be less fruit
and veggies and berries.
the machines will not have the dexterity of human hands.
there will be more waste. and mangled produce. and it will be far more expensive.
because machines require upkeep. and gas. and all that.
machines have to be treated better than the humans they’ll replace.
i don’t mean to put a cloud on your day old bean.
and i think this sounds like it’s a bit too preachy for my taste.
so i apologize.
but you have to understand. the talking i do here is as much to myself
and about me as anything or anyone else!
i needed a shake up wake up call.
i haven’t been appreciating the sacrifice that goes into my food.
if you’re a praying kind of person . . .
most people say ~ thank you god for this food ~
my prayer is
“thank you to all the hands that brought this to me.
the aching backs bending over for hours on end.
the pitiful living conditions. the lack of your own food to nourish your hard work.
the planters. the pickers. the processers. the truck drivers.
the list goes on and on. i did NOTHING. and i thank you and appreciate you all.
til soon old bean.