Book Excerpt from the Inspiring Story of Ramon Resa, MD:
Excerpt #1 of 17
PICKING COTTON: AT AGE 3, RAMON RESA BECOMES A FARMWORKER BOY…
Surrounded by a sea of white
And dense fog to the horizon.
Where is everyone?
On the dirt of a cotton field
There is no time for play
I have to earn my keep
I make my little mound of cotton
Piling it as high as it will go
And wait for someone
To come and want me
I am just a little boy of three
I’m standing in the middle of a cotton field. I’m three years old, and the plants are taller than I am.
It feels as if I’m all alone in this sea of white – white cotton under the dreary white sky with moist white fog settling all around. The fog envelops the cotton field and for a minute I feel panicky. I glance back to make sure that Apa, my grandfather, is behind me somewhere.
This is my job, to pile up the mounds of cotton. Every once in a while, I spook a cottontail, and when he scampers away I run after him as fast as my legs will take me. One time, I found a baby cottontail that was too scared to run. He just lay there motionless, trying to be invisible. As I picked him up and cuddled him, I felt him quivering. His heart was beating so fast, I was afraid it would explode. I couldn’t reassure this small creature that I meant him no harm, so before he died of fright I gently placed him on the ground and watched him run off.
I go back to piling the cotton as high as I can so Apa will be proud of me. He comes up behind me and pats me on the head. Then he shoves me forward to go and make another stack. I’m too young to carry a sack. Apa’s sack is long and shaped like a sausage, and he has it slung over his right shoulder with a leather strap. As he stuffs the cotton down into it, the sack begins to bulge like a snake after it has eaten a rodent. Apa grabs the sack and shakes it up and down, and the sack undulates as the lump of cotton makes its way to the closed-off end. Fascinated, I watch the lump moving down into the sack. Unable to contain myself, I leap onto the sack, but Apa is shaking so hard that I fall off onto the ground on the other side.
“Get back to work!” Apa yells.
I do anything I can to have a little fun. After all, I’m just a kid.