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 do whatever work he’s got
Some folks might envy the Bankerman
For raking in a hundred grand
Me I’m OK with an honest man’s wage as a farmer’s hired hand
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 wandering
I’ll get a change of scene at least
No 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 the 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-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