Most of us vividly remember our very first jobs even though they weren’t likely to have been in the proverbial mail room. My first was walking beans, unless of course you count the Christmas when I was five and started wrapping Christmas purchases sold in my father’s small town men’s clothing store. The pay at the time was a daily trip to see Santa in his special little house which was set up each Christmastime on the lawn of the court house. Since no dollars changed hands, I think that walking beans really qualifies as my first job.
For you city folk, walking beans means being up long before the sun, rushing to a designated pick-up spot in town, riding in the back of an old pick-up farm truck to the fields where you will then spend 14 hour days walking acres and acres of rows of beans, cultivating the soil, and removing the invading corn plants. “Blazing sun” and “dog days of August” took on an entirely new meaning within a day of starting my first job. The compensation was bragging rights at school in the fall that you hadn’t whimped out and, if memory serves, $.50 an hour.