.by Anura Guruge
I am not sure how many people realize that we have migrant farm workers in Alton, NH. Well we do, and I have seen them here ever since I moved to Alton in 2007.
I know that this is not considered traditional farm country, but, of course, we do have farms and they only produce in the Summer (into Fall).
I guess I tend to notice them more than most since they are the rare exception in Alton in terms of people darker (in skin tone) than me. These folks are from Caribbean or Central America though I heard that they are now based in Florida during the winter. I do not know their ‘status’ and I am not going to find out. I am also not going to divulge anything about where they are since I don’t want to get them into any kind of ‘trouble’. I watch them work. They are pretty diligent. One in particular, at least when I am watching, really does live up to that Southern adage of ‘working like a black‘. Given that I am noted, particularly so per my wife who loves to claim that all I ever do is sit at my computer for my lassitude and sloth.
All I know is that these migrant workers are employed by one of the staunchest, Conservatives, with a capital ‘C’, who has teabags pinned to her stetson, in Alton.
I assume that there is nobody around here who can work like these migrants for the wages they get paid. I know that they live in a small, metal trailer while in Alton. I have to assume that it is sweltering in this heat wave.
I have no axe to grind. I like seeing them around. Makes me feel less special.
[Funny thing last evening. We went to the beach for the kids dinner. The kids and I had already swum in Winnipesaukee. One of our new neighbours is an ‘Obama’ in genetical make-up. But, it was funny. He said that he is lighter than me! Whatever rocks his boat. Now that my adoptive mother is dead, and has been for 21 years, nobody, other than this Obama-like guy, comments on my skin color — though Deanna, my wife, piped in yesterday, with a comment very similar to what my adoptive mother would have said. Ever since she abandoned me, age 15, and I started living away from her, the FIRST THING she would say when she saw me had to do with the darkness of my skin: ‘you have got darker‘, ‘good, you have got lighter‘, ‘why are you so dark‘. I am not joking. Never, ‘glad to see you‘, ‘how are you‘, ‘how was the trip‘. It was a comment about my skin color — which varies by how much sun I get (and no, I don’t have to and will not use sun screen. I don’t burn. Just tan). So depending on how much Sun I had got, which in those days depended on how much cricket, skiing and running I was doing, I could be ‘dark’ or ‘light’.]
I know that Maine has a lot of migrant farm workers. Yes, I have read ‘Cider House Rules’. Actually I married my wife because she was the only woman I knew at that time, c. 2002, who knew that the movie that had just come out had nothing to do with the book. The fact that she was quite beautiful didn’t hurt her case. We had a copy of the book next to our wedding cake.
Anyway, if you live in Alton, keep an eye out for the migrant farm workers. If you see them, slow down and wave. No, you shouldn’t stop and try to approach them. You might scare them. They don’t mind me. They think I am one of them.