From as young as I can remember, certain days were farm days. My dad would leave early in the morning to start working on the farm while my mom would get us kids ready to head down there later. She’d pack up the lunches and sodas for the workers, clean up the house and then get us ready to go down to the farm.
When were were little, the farm days were fun play days. We’d go roaming around the field lifting up rocks and discovering bugs, mixing mud, or playing down in the stream. The whole family was involved with the farm too, including my mom’s parents and my dad’s brothers. Lots of the neighborhood teens would also be down at the farm and everyone knew each other. They were also our baby sitters as we played in the fields.
As my siblings and I grew up, those play days ended and we became part of the farm labor. We’d start off as washers of the papayas using a large old tub and rubber gloves with a sponge, we’d wash each and every fruit. Then we’d carefully place them in the sorting bin to be packed. There was no playing anymore after that. It was hard work and there was no fooling around, not with my dad. He was the military corporal disguised as a farmer and father! Stern and fair.
My dad would always tell us the same things every single farm day. Rule one: Always do a good job. Rule two: Don’t do kapulu work or sloppy work, ever. Rule three: No sitting down because that is being lazy. Rule four: Don’t wait to be asked to do something, just do it. As a kid of 8 years old, we were regimented into what it meant to work. My dad was all about taking initiative and always doing a good job to make the family proud.
Not all kids get a chance to work on a farm and know what it means to work hard. Those lessons learned on the farm have been instilled with me to this day. As a kid, I used to really get ticked off and feel sorry for myself that I had to work while my friends were our playing. When I have seen how my world was shaped by being raised on a farm, I am so grateful that I learned those valuable lessons that can only be taught that way.