Weekend Road Trip: Tobacco



Longs rows. Rows as far as the eye can see.

Red clay.

August sun.

Heat. Unbearable heat.


Men sweat like rain.

Bending. Pulling leaves.

Sunup to sundown.

Bottom of stalks.

Pulling leaves as large as palm fronds.


Goo between fingers.

Green worms like undulating fingers.


Wagons. Heavy. Laden with piles of waxy leaves.


Muscles straining.

Hooves dig into orange soil.

Hazy sky.

Bending. Bending. Bending.

Tired, so tired.

Foreman pushing.

Move! Move! Move!

Water from bucket.

No shade.

Tired eyes gaze at horizon.

Endless fields.

Sun high in sky.



Long sleeve shirts and straw hats.


Skin glistening.

Hands calloused like old leather.

Bending, pulling.

Loading wagons.

Almost dark.

To the barns.

Tie leaves.

Fingers cramping. Stinging.

Hang bundles.


Black snake slithering at feet.


No time to worry.

Tomorrow’s coming.


3 replies
  1. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Looks like South Central Kentucky- where I live, North of Nashville. Same process- same back-breaking work. I think (not sure) the tobacco is slightly different

  2. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    I’m glad you did. I guess I should’ve mentioned that most of these photos were taken last week near our new home in N.C. This isn’t something from the past.

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