Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cotton Picking Snow


It’s cotton picking time in lower Alabama and that means we’re near about as close as we’re gotta get to anything resembling snow. Right now, the cotton fields are topped with fluffy white cotton bolls. And yes, they’re as soft on the plant as when you pull a store bought one out of a bag and rub it on your face. Cotton picking time means the farmers are harvesting their cotton.

What does all this have to do with snow in Alabama? Well, the cotton’s gotta be taken from the fields to the cotton gin. The farmers load up trailers and haul the cotton to the gin. During the trip, tuffs of fluffy cotton fly off the trailers and settle on the sides of the road. The closer you get to the cotton gin, the thicker the layer of cotton until it looks like a light layer of snow has fallen alongside the road.

Since it doesn’t snow much in these here parts, it’s a nice reminder winter is on its way. In cotton’s heyday, all the farms round about Tassanoxie grew cotton. I wasn’t alive then, but I can picture the “snow” effect. Can even see “snow” lining all the dirt roads  as the tuffs of cotton fall off the the mule-drawn wagons going to the closest cotton gin. 

The boll weevil showed up way back when and ate up all the cotton crops. Folks lost their livelihood. It was a bad time. Lots of places went quite a few decades without cotton because farmers switched to growing crops like peanuts. The pendulum swung back to cotton a few years ago and Tassanoxie, not wanting to miss out on the revival, put in a cotton gin. 

If you get a hankering to pretend it’s snowing in Alabama, just drive up any ole road leading to a cotton gin. It’s a nice reminder winter is on its way.