Lars Larson on Christmas Trees and Labor

Let’s talk about Christmas trees and a work ethic.

This weekend Tina and I headed out to Thornton’s Treeland where, unlike in downtown Portland, they still call them Christmas trees. Out at the front gate, a kid who couldn’t have been far from ten years of age greeted us and did a professional job of explaining where to go and how the U-cut operation worked.

We parked the truck and got out to look. Two minutes later Joe walked up. We found out later, Joe is thirteen years old and he’s part of the Thorton family, just like his younger cousin at the gate. He guided us all over those acres until we found just the right Christmas tree and loaded it up.

Got me thinking. All of those times we’ve talked about how America can’t get by without illegal labor because American kids won’t do it? I think Joe and his cousin disproved that notion. I saw no signs that those kids in rain gear weren’t willing to get out in the weather and the dirt and do the jobs that their family and America has offered up.

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Posted by at 09:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 16 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • crawdude

    When I was a kid (starting at 8) I worked many of the jobs that are now designated as migrant worker or adult jobs. Myself and many kids like me picked strawberries then raspberries, flower bulbs and finished out the summer picking cucumbers.

    It was great money for a kid, you got to hang out with school friends while school was in recess and it gave us sense of independence since we could buy our own clothes for the coming school year; and other items kids like but who’s parents might not have been able to afford to buy them. We also saved for college, knowing that someday that money would come in handy…….somethings the kids today would never be able to understand.

    Then things changed…….for the worse. Kids were no longer allowed to work in the fields for some reason. Personally I’m sure it was a closet socialists idea to save us from ourselves. Whatever would this country be like if people learned to be self reliant and financially savvy at such an early age? Why, it would be anarchy, people would feel independant of the government, people might actually strive to do something with their lives, be productive, be happy enjoy living in the greatest country in the world, we can’t have that!

    Now most of those jobs are filled by people who aren’t even in this country legally. We’ve replaced one our childrens bridges to adulthood with criminals, for no viable reason.

    I no longer see kids striving to be something, instead they dress like punks, act like punks and whine that they are somehow owed something. They have been taught that everything in life should be bought for them by somebody elses hard work and sacrifice.

    So sad that in a generations time a cornerstone that positively influenced so many lives can be thrown away and disregarded so easily by society.

    Anyway, maybe the Vikes can at least beat Detroit to day and brighten my mood.

    • crawdude

      That was supposed to be an eight but it turned into a smiley!

  • DMF

    The problem being, those kids can only work for their parents. I won’t hire kids because of all the mandatory things those who are “concerned” about those children being abused, make it impossible to hire kids while they’re still young enough to mold into good workers. By the time the state allows them to have a job, they’re already geared for play.We had a woman work for us with a 13 year old daughter. This kid wanted a job in the worst way. This was a gas station and convenience store. Her job was to mop the floor and water the plants. She would only have been working if her mother was there. We went down to get the work permit and it was denied because she would have a dangerous job. It didn’t matter her mother was on site. Now, if her mother had owned the store, she could have pumped gas or anything else anybody else did.

    I totally agree with Lars, but their protectors don’t. Until and Unless something is done about the rules that stop the kids from working, it won’t change. I know, I refuse to hire anybody under 18 and truthfully, I don’t even want to hire 18 year olds.

    Our laws are discriminatory against kids. They are treated as children and tied to their mothers apron strings until it is too late. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.

  • Jerry

    Good point Lars. All these fools who keep saying we need illegals here to do the work Americans won’t are simply nuts, wrong, and ill-informed.
    It is time to stop the madness.

  • Richard Brown

    What Lars is engaging in is called a Hasty Generalization. He is judging the entire agriculture industry by the acts one 13 year old country boy. As I type this note on my new laptop I see the year is 2007 not 1967. Thanks to the growing economy, young people today have more choices for work. A 17 year old can work in sales in climate condition mall rather then dirty backbreaking work. I see young people working at Blockbusters, Hollywood Video both never existed in the 1960’sIn my own area I seen three new fast food joints and the streets of Tanasborne. Ag jobs are truly becoming job only the undocumented and will worker is willing to do.
    So if you do not like the come illegally then let go ahead with the farm visa program and let the come and work.

    • Anonymous

      I see your list of jobs the 17 year olds are doing nowadays. But what about the kids of 10 or 13 years of age like the ones in Lars’ story? Can you reply with the list of jobs they can do in place of the work 10 and 13 year olds were allowed to do before some government nanny decided it was “best” that they no longer work in the fields?


      I agree whole heartedly with you Richard, only 2% of the illegals in this country work in the Ag. industry. Send every illegal home and then start a Visa program for the Ag. workers so they can return legally an earn an income they can bring back to their country, great idea! It would also give this country a better chance of knowing who is in it that isn’t a citizen , while also securing our borders.

      P.S. I’m going to have to disagree with your back breaking description. I was tired after working but it was no way back breaking. Don’t take my word for it though.

      Did anyone else work for farmers when they were a kid doing Ag. work? Did you find it back breaking? I will admit that bringing in the hay bails wasn’t my favorite job though…………….made more picking cucumbers, lol!

      • CRAWDUDE

        OBTW, the Vikes smoked the Lions!

      • Anonymous

        It a matter of perception Stopping over in a muddy field is much more that washing dishes or busing tables which what I did.

  • lars

    when i was 12, and lived in tillamook, i rode the bus in to Banks to pick strawberries. i made 10-12 dollars a day (a dollar a flat till you got to five flats and then 1.10 a flat in 1973. name a job today where a 12 year old can make 50 bucks a week in today’s dollars…let along the 1973 equivalent

    • dean

      Let it be said…nostalgia is not what it used to be.

      Why stop at the 1970s? What about those do-gooder liberals who stopped the coal mining companies from sending 8 and 10 year olds thousands of feet below the earth to work the nooks and crannies their pappies could not fit into? Sure there was coal dust, black lung, no unions, no safety inspections, and so forth…but wasn’t that a great time to be a capitalist? And I’ll bet those little runts were too tired at the end of the day to cause any trouble.

      Why are there no longer any work houses? Debters prisons? Orphanages? This world has just gone completely to heck.

      • carol

        Ohmigod, Dean, I can always rely on you to stir up trouble. I got on this site because of M49, how the hell long have you been here, poking a stick into a hornets nest, tell me of some sites that have more of our view point, or aren’t they as much fun? I have to admit tho, that hiring a teen age boy to buck hay is pretty iffy. My grandkids know how to work, but that’s because their first jobs were with their grand-dad, where they found a work ethic in one helluva hurry. Almost like the coal mines. He was too young for WWII, so he was driviing a truck, and bucking steel when he was 15, and “by God if I can do it, so can you” My two youngest took warehouse work, because the pay was so much better than office work. When one sees them, they look like ladies, but cross them and listen, then it’s a whole ‘nother story.

      • CRAWDUDE

        Geee Dean, what would Jesus do?

        • dean

          Okay, I’m a self appointed reality check for the right wing. You caught me. I’ll get bored with this role soon enough, since I find the themes too predictable.

          People that share our viewpoint? How boring Carol. I would take the other side just to force them to think! Nodding heads signify rattling brains, not thinking people.

          Your husband sounds like a man to step aside from. Our youngen also got raised to pull his share of the load. He tried to avoid work around the wee farm, but we quickly showed him that resistance was futile. Now he spends summers building trails with a Pulaski, and is probably going to join a forest firefighting crew to help pay for college. I would say he is a chip off the old block, but taint true. His old man (me) avoids hard physical work as much as possible. He seems to take to it.

          CD…I’m not very religous, but I expect that Jesus would be on the side of the coal mine owners. Without them there would be no jobs for the miner’s kids, and no scrip for the company store goods. And absent public schools how would they spend their idle time? In the Devil’s workshop maybe?

          • carol

            I am afraid that he is no longer one to step aside from since he got old, he still commands respect tho, mainly because of the things he does, not the fits he throws. On the other hand, my girls have taken up the banner ‘Don’t Tread on Me’. Fortunately, there is the trickle down theory at work with the G-kids, it takes much more to rile them, almost as placid as I am. Snicker.

            I don’t notice a whole lot of thinken goin’ on around here tho, seems that each one clings to her/his own beliefs with a passion. As for Jesus, the Jesus that I was raised on would definitely not be on the side of the mine owners, they would have been the ones cast out of the temple on their fat buns. The Jesus that I read about would not approve of a lot that goes on with devout ‘Christians’.

          • dean

            Sounds like a fine family you have there Carol. And I’m sure you had something to do with it.

            But now YOU are the one stirring up trouble. I will step aside and let the fur fly.

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