Laughs from the Past (2)


Aerobatic ballet, how effortlessly they play,

Climbing, swooping, clowning, high above the tree,

I’m thankful of the time allocated to me,

Watching nature unfolding, so wild, so free.

Pea Pickin

The next morning with sillar in pockets they headed for the Seaman’s Union, there was berth for both, on a ship sailing from Southampton, but not until the end of the week. Still, the lads were in much better fettle when they boarded a train for Southampton and booked themselves into the Seaman’s Mission. On reading the noticeboard they found a card, offering work in nearby fields picking peas. So with time to kill, both set out the next day for the pea fields.

On reaching the fields, that stretched from horizon to horizon, a bunch of men was loitering around waiting for the farmer, when he arrived each was told to take a sack and given rows to pick. The work was backbreaking stooped low over the crop. In adjoining rows, the two young men chatted away as they went. Without warning the sound of cars pulling up near the fence line halted their conversation. As they look on half a dozen men jumped from the cars. They quickly climbed the fence, fanned out, and set off hot-footing it into the field. Jimmy and Laurimer looked around them, they could not at first understand why a field, that only minutes before had been alive with pickers was now deserted, that is until one of the men running past said,

“I take it, you two are not signing on?”.

Laurimer, never one to miss a trick started up the row filling his sack from all the others that had been abandon. “Two full bags each should be enough for one-day picking, what do you say Jimmy?” as Jimmy quickly joined his fellow shipmate, filling the own sack.

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