Took this picture yesterday and was filled with nostalgia. I remember when all the “bottoms” looked like this in September and the air was strong with the smell of nicotine. A good tobacco crop meant new shoes for the kids and Christmas presents. My husband and his brother would go to the “Bluegrass” to cut and house (putting it in the barn) tobacco every summer; it was their money for school. They slept in the barn and washed in the creek and really didn’t think anything wrong with that scenario. Nowadays tobacco barns have to have bathrooms and break rooms and you have to be 18 to work in tobacco. I know one thing you surely have to be agile and strong to stand on those tiers in a tobacco barn and hang those heavy sticks of tobacco.
I hated the “stripping”, which was taking the leaves off the stalk and sorting it into different categories, depending on size and color. Back then it was sorted into three different groups, but I don’t know what they do now. It was dirty, monotonous work and the nicotine smell made me so sick. I am glad that smoking isn’t as prevalent today as it once was but I do miss seeing tobacco growing in the field.