The Farmer’s Hired Hand

Image: Tip Estes, forty-three year old hired man, on his farm near Fowler, Indiana, 1937, LC-USF34- 010565-D


You might find me mending a fence line

So the springtime lambs can’t stray

Believe you me, I’d take it personally

If even one got away

Or working double time pulling potatoes

So they ain’t taken by a frost or rot

‘Cause I’ll roll up my sleeves

Or crawl on hands and knees

To care for each and every crop

Some folks might envy the Bankerman

For raking in all the scratch he can

Me I’m OK with an honest man’s wage as a farmer’s hired hand

Now when work gets slow it’s my time to go

North or south or west or east

And if crops are thin where I’m wanderin’

I’ll get a change of scene at least

You can’t ever know how a harvest will go

But the rhythms of the seasons remain

Roaming coast to coast to where I’m wanted most

To me that’s right as rain

No disrespect to those Senators

Who’ve got runs at the president planned

For me it’s no disgrace holding down my place as a farmer’s hired hand

When each turn of the season gives me good reason

To tackle the next needful task

Tilling or sowing or to reap what we’re growing

Whatever it is I’m asked

No the chores they don’t end, but listen my friend

And I’ll tell you sir what never gets old:

Earning a fair day’s pay working the live-long day

Turning brown fields green and gold

See for some folks the be-all-and-end-all

Is a home where they set down roots

Me I’ll make my place anywhere there’s space

For my hat and my working boots

Everyone admires the movie stars

Known up and down this whole hard land

For me it ain’t no shame to bear the unknown name of a farmer’s hired hand