…continued from Picking Cherries – 2 post….
Somehow I made it through the first day, although at lunch break I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to continue. I picked a little over 400 pounds of Cherries that first day. I was quite proud of that accomplishment until I discovered that the adult migrant workers all exceeded 1,000 pounds – then I found out that each of the “elderly” ladies picked over 450 pounds before lunch! Obviously there were secrets to picking that I was not aware of. Probably the most important thing was to be able to position the ladder so as to maximize the amount reachable and to minimize the times you had to reposition it. That would not be a skill I would be able to gain in two short weeks. Oh well, at least I had survived.
The next morning every muscle in my body was complaining, but I went back to the orchard. And I did so every day those two weeks except for Sundays. I wish it had become easier but it didn’t. The last day was just about as awful as the first. And the very best I was able to do was 490 pounds.
It was a great source of pride for me that I had stuck it out for the duration despite how badly and how often I had wanted to quit. I earned somewhere around $150 those two weeks. That would be close to $1,200 today, considering inflation. I can honestly say that that was the only pay I have ever received in my entire life that I actually WORKED for.
My cherry picking career, though short, was very educational. I learned to appreciate and respect people that actually work for a living. I discovered I had an inner strength that I’d never dreamed I had. But, most of all, I learned that I was not cut out for physical labor.