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
Before they’re 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

You might be a bankerman
Raking in a hundred grand
Me I’m OK with an honest man’s  wage as a farmer’s hired hand

Now 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
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

You might be a senator
With a run at the president planned
For me it’s no disgrace to hold down my place as a farmer’s hired hand

Each turn of the season gives me a reason
To tackle the next needful task–
To till or to sow, or reap what we’ve grown

Whatever it is I’m asked
No the work never ends, but listen my friend
And I’ll tell sire you what never gets old:
Earning a fair day’s pay working the live long day
Turning brown fields all green and gold

Now 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