It was midnight and we stood on our roof watching the huge burning field just across the street behind our house. The flames were about 2 stories high and as wide as 3 football fields. We stood in the smoke watching, waiting and thinking…..”If those tree branches on our side of the street catch fire…….” In mid-thought the wind changed directions and within 5 minutes the entire raging fire had died down to only smoke.
Speaking of smoke…….
Have you ever worked in a tobacco field? In a day when people are “going green” and advocates exist for almost everything, I doubt there are many left who have actually worked in a tobacco field. But growing up in East Tennessee, tobacco fields were a common sight. And on my Grandmothers farm, a good tobacco crop secured another year of life.
I remember sweating in the late summer heat, dressed from head to toe to keep the nicotine sap from penetrating our skin. There were a half a dozen field hands, mostly comprised of family (all women) and a few young men from the community. I can vividly remember walking down the tobacco rows suckering each plant. What stands out most in my memory is the fact that my Grandmother was always a few steps behind me re-doing the job that I had just completed. One thing is for sure, between the two of us, those plants were not going to have any suckers…….(ha,ha)
I know you are all wondering what a sucker is, so I won’t keep you waiting.
A sucker is a small bud which begins to grow on the stalk right above each tobacco leaf. If left unattended the plant will divide it’s strength between the sucker and the leaf, hence producing mediocre tobacco leaves, unfit for market. Suckering is an essential part of growing a good crop.
This week, in response to the violence that we have experienced in our area, I have been thinking a lot about flaming branches and suckers. The flaming branches of fears which seem to be headed right toward us and the rumor like suckers which have been sprouting up all over the place. And then I remember that God is in control and at any moment the wind can change directions and literally put out the flames. And those suckers, well my grandmother taught me how to get rid of them years ago.