Creative Expressions: Mini Story and Activities

Creative Expressions: Mini Story and Activities: As I type this short story, I still wonder why I was ashamed to let others know that I was a field laborer.  I felt like I was different, a...

Mini Story and Activities

As I type this short story, I still wonder why I was ashamed to let others know that I was a field laborer.  I felt like I was different, and that people would laugh at me.  Or worse yet, maybe, they would feel sorry for me.  I always felt so ashamed, and I wish I hadn't.  This is who I was, and I didn't want people to know who I really was.  I was so uncomfortable in my own skin.


Extracurricular Activities

My older sister and I were both in the high school band.  I was a freshman and she was a junior at the school.  Summer band practice would start three weeks before the first day of school.  When we received our letters indicating the schedule for band practice, my sister told me that we would have to rush from the cotton fields, take a bath and be ready to drive into town so that we could make band practice on time.  My mom had already made arrangements for one of our aunts to drive us to practice.

While I was bathing for the first band practicie, I remember that every bone in my body ached.  My face was red with sunburn and it hurt when I talked or smiled.

My hands were sore with blisters and cuts from the cotton plants.  As we were driving into town, I told my sister I hurt all over.  She told me to ignore the pain and I would be ok.

I held out my hands and asked, "How can I play my clarinet with the blisters on my hands!"

My sister replied that once I got started the pain would disappear.  This was the first time I'd had to go through this ordeal and I wondered how my sister had survived the three years that she had been in the high school band.

Sure enough, I had problems putting my B flat clarinet together and I cringed as I placed the instrument in my mouth.  I pretended that my sunburned face did not hurt and I ignored the pain I experienced with every note that I played.  When other band members asked if I had spent a lot of time at the beach, I just nodded and smiled.

We practiced playing our music inside the band hall and another reality hit me as the band director announced that we would be practicing our marching in the football field for the next two hours.  I discovered a new pain as I lifted each foot to march as our band director had taught us.

I remember looking at my sister with the pain in my eyes.  She never complained and continued with the assigned tasks from our band director.

During our drive home, I realized that this would be the ritual for the next two or three weeks.  My admiration and appreciation for my sister increased as she modeled the level of endurance necessary to pick cotton and participate in our high school marching band.

At the crack of dawn the next morning, my sister and I followed the early morning ritual of cotton field laborers.

Discussion and Writing Prompts:

1.  Why do you think the writer was embarrassed about the fact that she was a field laborer?  Explain your answer and opinion in a well elaborated essay.

2.  Why do you think the writer's older sister had not explained how difficult it was going to be to participate in the high school band and work in the fields?  Explain your answer and opinion in a well developed essay.

3.  Illustrate a picture depicting the pain from working in the fields.

4.  Using a Venn Diagram, compare and contrast the similarities and differences of working in the fields and marching in the high school band.  Write about the comparisons and contrasts in a well developed essay.

5.  Create a collage with pictures and adjectives symbolizing the difficulties of working in the fields and turning right around and participating in band practice.



Creative Expressions: The Red Cotton Picker

Creative Expressions: The Red Cotton Picker: To this day, cotton fields lure me still as if in the lull of a dream. I could see the white cotton fields in the background.  I wa...

The Red Cotton Picker

To this day, cotton fields lure me still as if in the lull of a dream.

I could see the white cotton fields in the background.  I was amazed by the whiteness of the cotton and the bright green cotton plants.  It always felt good noticing that the cotton plants were not high enough to cover my whole body; it was difficult to breathe when the plants climbed way over my head.  These cotton plants were perfect for picking.

I was standing on the porch in the early morning admiring the perfect cotton fields when I saw a bright red cotton picker drive up and park by the side of the street next to our house.  The cotton picker looked redder because of the starkness of the white cotton that was piled in the back.  I had never seen a red cotton picker; the ones I had seen were all green.

I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief as I noticed my father climb out of the cotton picker cab.  He was such a young man at the age of 27 and he had such a zest for life.  I watched as he walked briskly toward the porch of our house where I stood.

When he approached me I jumped into his arms and asked, "What are you doing here?"

"I'm home from work.  I never left you.  I want to make sure that you understand that you will no longer have to pick cotton in the hot sun.  I have come to take care of you," my dad answered.

I laughed as only a four-year-old can as I was whirled in my father's arms.  I was relieved to discover that he had never left me.  All of my relatives that kept telling me everyday that my dad was never coming back were wrong.  My dad had gone to work and was now back home.

He released me from his arms and I landed on my feet, only to run into the house to tell my mom, sisters and brother that Dad was home.

I felt my heart expand with glee as I saw my mom standing by the doorway looking at my father.  My mom was not smiling; she still had that sad look on her face that had been there ever since Dad had left.  Why wasn't she happy to find out that he was home?

"Mom, look at Dad!  He's home, and he never really left.  He just told me himself.  Everyone else lied to you about Dad.  He's come back to take care of us."

I forced my eyes back from my mom to my dad.

Reality and disappointment entered my heart as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes at the crack of dawn.

I was reminded that my dad was dead and he was not coming back to me.  I peeked outside the bedroom window to make sure that a red cotton picker was not parked by the side of the road of our house.

I backed away from the window with a deep sadness, then began dressing in my red pants and pink shirt to face one more day of picking cotton in the hot sun.

My dad would not be joining us.

Discussion/Writing Prompts:

1.  What are three symbols in this short story, and what do they represent?  Illustrate these symbols and write about them?

2.  What is the symbolism of the dream itself?  Why is the narrator having this specific dream?

3.  Illustrate a title page for this short story.

4.  What colors are represented as symbols in the story?  What emotions do they represent?  Combine these emotions to colors in a well developed essay.

5.  Write about one of your dreams or illustrate it with captions or subtitles.