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Because the faith our mother practiced and passed on to us was about love and service, we felt the need to help care for “the least of these” – and one look at the raggedy, sad folks who came to the swimming pool to shower each evening certainly told the story of poverty.
So my sister Donna and I joined with other people in town to provide Bible school classes for the migrant children – kids who loved to laugh and have fun, just like I did. They were dirty because they had no access to showers and fresh water. They slept under bridges and in fields because they had no accommodations.
Donna even got a job working in the fields, but it only lasted three days. The chaff from broomcorn, as it turns out, is the same stuff used to make “itching powder” that used to be sold in the back of comic books.
I’ve always wondered if our community could have treated the migrants better. Mom joked that while the Broomcorn Johnnies were in town, we oil-field folk weren’t the lowest people on the totem pole. The sands of time have rendered the question moot now, as plastic replaced those old-fashioned straw brooms. Our once prosperous hometown now struggles like so much of the rest of rural America.
But for at least a few decades, we had a community identity that rivaled any. We were small, but we were mighty – the Broomcorn Capital of the World.
Until next time!
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