I am very familiar with a field of blonde...not human blondes like in the film, but a field of golden corn that tastes the best when you eat it raw right off the stalk. Sometimes, there are some meal worms and caterpillars that infest the tops of the head of corn that you have to watch out for before eagerly chomping away at this super sweet corn that I used to fill myself up on. This "supah sweet cowan" was and is grown on the fields of Freitas Farm in Middleboro, MA.
Yes, I am a farm girl...or was. I got the job working on a farm when I was in junior high through a friend who lived on the same street as Dave Freitas, the owner of this farm. I met David one morning when I was having a sleep over with my good friend who lived on Wood St., and because she had to go to work on the farm the following morning, she decided to ask him if I could come to work that day, too. He seemed a little disgruntled at first that he was going to have to pay another worker for the day, but he made sure that I was going to earn this money with a capital E. You'd think that at 5 dollars an hour, he wouldn't stress as much as he did, but later on, I found out that he just liked playing the role of the boss who took pride in increasing the prolificacy of the group of teenagers, the one Mexican George, and the one lady in her late forties who together created the work force of Freitas Farm.
Dave looked down at me through his thick glasses from the light blue and rust Ford farm truck (which I would later get stuck driving from the blueberry field over to the watermelon field many times before I had my license...without power steering and without a cleared path from one field to the next...I learned to off road at an early age) and announced, "I have 100 bushel baskets. I am only going to pay you if you fill all of these baskets my 6:00 PM tonight." Now, I thought that I saw a hint of a smile in the depths of the tunnel in his right pupil, but I wasn't sure. I didn't say a word. First off, I didn't know that I was going to be working from 6 AM to 6 PM. I thought this was supposed to be a part time job. I actually took this ultimatum with seriousness and considered it my initiation.
Boy, did I get sunburnt that first day. I worked so hard. I ended up filling up 40 baskets. He eyed me disapprovingly and said that was about half what his son who works on the farm can pick. I realized later that he was just giving me a hard time because he liked me. Oh, and I got paid even though I didn't pick 100. I had raw hands that smelled like onions for a week. You think that your fingers smell like onions after cooking with them? Try pulling them out of the ground for seven hours!
I still can't believe that I did that in high school. I really think it contributed to my workaholism in a way that allows me to have tunnel vision..all the whilst being sane. You have to have a sane tunnel vision to pick veggies out of the ground for that long. I remember I used to dream about whatever the last food was that I picked that day. I remember being out in the blueberry field, closing my eyes for a second, and seeing blueberries on the backs of my eyelids! Now that is maddening!
My sister ended up working for him, too. Both of us are workhorses. We would out-pick, out-lift, and out-sell any other worker on that farm. We became the best sales people at the farmers markets in and around the greater Boston area. (Boy was it a trip the first time that I drove a 20 foot farm truck right after getting my license at age 16 and 1/2-lets just say that there is a bank in Bridgewater that got an un-asked for hedge trimming while I was turning around in their drive-thru because I got lost going to a market-ooops) The good news is that, now, I am an excellent driver from driving those fat farm trucks. I have driven U-Hauls many times in Jersey and New York with no problem..in fact, my boy was pleasantly surprised when I raced up and down the west side highway to move from Bushwick Brooklyn to Inwood.
The worst part about working at the farm was the rotten swill pile. David would usually let the swill compile, and then he would bring it out to the lone cow that lived in the woods (that, no, I never milked, thank you very much). The pile of disgusting rotting veggies would be waiting in the barn for the person who maybe just didn't quite cut it for the day. But, then main reason that he would dump someone in the swill pile was because it would make him laugh uncontrollably...like the time that he put a snapping turtle underneath my driver's seat in my little Ford Escort..he laughed for days about that! He would conspire with my sister if it was my turn. I usually knew when it was about to happen, but there was not much I could do about it. They would just pick me up and throw me into the pile! Of course, I would immediately jump out and start throwing all of the rotten veggies that I was now wearing as a suit of armor back at my enemies. This would usually start a rotten food fight (in the summer, this happened at least once a week).
Oh, the days of working on the farm. I still go back there and visit when I am able, but now that my mom sold her house in Middleboro, I am not there too often. Sometimes, Dave's son (who Dave claimed to be the master of picking and selling-though I never saw the proof) throws a fourth of July party in the fields of Freitas Farm chock full of fireworks, beer, and all of the fresh fruit and veggies that you can pick.
Good times bad times you know I had my share.