This is one of a
series of paintings
by Robert Butler
turn-of-the-century scenes from twelve
of Florida's major
All narratives accompanying the paintings were written by Robert Butler.
All rights reserved by the artist.
Beekeeping in the Pines
The tomato harvest was not a place for the lax, the days work was always fierce. The skill and diligence of the farmer had produced a bountiful crop; now many could reap the rewards.
Upon arrival, the workers soon scattered into the field of red. Myriad colors and shapes blended to bring animation to the endless rows of ripened fruit. One could get the sense of being part of something important. But more realistic was the anticipation of the days wages.
In the late 1950s, tomato farming was big business in my hometown of Okeechobee, Fla. Canning operations were centered in my town, and provided employment for many neighbors and citizens. Making a living was the business of the day and not much thought was given to the origin of the fruit bearing our good fortune.
I remember the long bus rides before daylight with a busload of migrant workers. I remember stopping at our special store to purchase RC Cola and Moon Pies. It was all so routine.
© Robert Butler 1999