Picking ‘Cots in San Jose 1958

He needed his cots picked,

and we needed dough.

He said, “25 cents a box.”

We didn’t know.

But, we said, “Yes.”

“Be here at seven

with a lunch and in pickin’ clothes.

You work ‘til four, no more…

and don’t get cute…

I pay only for ripe fruit.”

We got there early.

Saw families with kids

who filled their boxes,

and put them on the skids.

We had to look and feel

to find ripe cots to pick,

but the kids just grabbed and pulled–

they didn’t have to look

to find the cots he took.

At 3:30 we were hot and wet with sweat.

We’d picked 30 boxes in the hot sun.

We didn’t need a clock–

we were both done.

Three dollars and seventy-five cents we each made,

but we were happy just to sit down in some shade.

We took our pay and hit the road.

Hitchhiked our way to Santa Cruz,

and blew the whole load.

We needed money, but we both knew

that picking fruit just wouldn’t do.