I must confess I did not enjoy working in the tobacco fields when I was growing up, especially “priming” or harvesting the crop. It was hot and dirty work, but it was part of growing up. The one thing I did enjoy was the time when the morning break would come. A bottle of pop and a pack of nabs never tasted better than when you were sitting on a tobacco slide! For those of you not familiar with the term I am referring to a soft drink and a pack of Lance snack crackers. I learned I needed to explain what that was in college.(I will tell more about that at the end of my post!)
Most of the time I helped my parents or my uncle Charles in the tobacco fields and they usually had the same type of snacks for the morning break. Occasionally there would be a change and you would get a Little Debbie snack or a moon pie. If you were really lucky you would get a pack of peanuts! This could lead to the best of break experiences possible. Before going to the fields in the morning we would always put the pop in the freezer to make sure it was cold when it got to the fields. Sometimes the pop would freeze a little and there would be “mush ice” in the bottle. Pouring a pack of peanuts into a 10 ounce bottle of Dr. Pepper and then drinking it brought refreshment that no words can describe.
One year we had a watermelon patch at the end of the fields. This also led to a very refreshing break. It was amazing how we were able to manage that break time came next to the watermelon patch! Knowing that a watermelon waited at the end of the row was the one thing that would make me hurry a little bit in the tobacco field.
I will finish this post by telling what happened in college that made me realize that people did not use the same phrases in describing things. When I was a freshman I was talking with my roommate about tobacco farming. He was from Charlotte, NC and had never been on a farm. I mentioned a bottle of pop and a pack of nabs. He looked at me totally confused and asked what I was talking about. I then explained that “pop” was the term we used for soft drinks. He was ok with that but wanted to know what a pack of nabs was. I was shocked but explained that it was a pack of orange crackers with peanut butter. He looked bewildered and asked, “Do you mean a Toast-Chee?”. I had to admit that was the name written on the wrapper but I had never heard them called anything but nabs. What really amazed me about this was the fact that my roommate actually worked at a Lance factory during summer vacations? I guess that just shows that city folk and country folk are different in some ways.
Thanks for reading and please post your farming field break experiences if you have any.