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


It might be 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 double time picking potatoes
So the goddamn things don’t rot
‘Cause I’ll roll up my sleeves
Or crawl on hands and knees
To do whatever work he’s got
You might be a bankerman
Pulling down a hundred grand
Me I’ll pay my way on a dollar a day as a farmer’s hired hand
When work gets slow I know it’s time to go
North or south or west or east
And if crops are thin where I’m wandering
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
You might be a senator
With a run at the president planned
For me there’s no disgrace holding down my place as a farmer’s hired hand
For some folks the be-all-end-all
Is a home where they put down roots
Me I’ll make my place anywhere there’s space
For my hat and my working boots
You might be a movie star
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