Friday, October 29, 2010
Connection at the Cotton Gin
As a chaperone on my son’s field trip, I had an experience yesterday that most people will never have. The preschool outing was to the Bostwick Cotton Gin in Bostwick, Georgia. This is the very same cotton gin that, so many years ago, my grandmother and her family relied on to remove the seeds from their freshly picked cotton. On our visit, the gin was running, the noise was almost intolerable, and cotton was swirling in the air like snow. I had two thoughts (besides keeping an eye on the few children that were around me). One was a new appreciation for the clothes on my back and the people who make those threads possible. The other was how hard Tom, my grandmother, and her family worked to get the bills paid and put food on the table.
Tom grew up a few miles from the gin and growing cotton was a way of life. The house, flanked by a row of pecan trees, still stands up on a hill. At first glance the farm looks eerily the same as when it I was a child.
The cotton had to be picked, loaded, and taken several miles down the road to the gin. We all complain about how hard our lives are today, but really. Compared to 80 years ago, we are all on permanent vacation.
My son, being 5 years old, can’t grasp the amazing fact that his great-grandmother quite possibly stood in the same spot and watched cotton emerge as a clean white bale, just as he did yesterday. I can, and I’m incredibly grateful for the few minutes we had to connect with our past.