Cesar Chavez

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to help Cesar's cause

"My Father"

My Father

My father was cynical about almost everything.  But not about Cesar Chavez.  My father never met Cesar, but he had a deep admiration for him. He liked Cesar Chavez because he stood up for the farm workers.  My father used to
talk about the time he was a farm worker.  He said when he was
stationed in Hawaii during World War II people from the Dole company
came into his barracks on a Sunday morning.  They said, ”  who wants
to make a dollar an hour?”.  So the whole barracks jumped up.  They
put about 100 men on a barge and took them to Lanai (the island that
Dole owned) to cut pineapple.  They gave everyone a machete with a
blade about a foot long and a handle almost as long, and a long burlap
bag to throw the pineapples into. My father said they had to squat and
chop the bottom of the pineapple to get it out of the ground then chop
the leaves off.  He said it was a mess.  Chunks of pineapple flying
around. Machetes flying.  Hot. No shade.  So after about 15 minutes,
my father walked off the field and sat down on the loading dock. He
quit.  One of the Dole managers or foremen or someone started bawling
out my father.  “Get back to work…. you lazy…..  the Army has
already been paid for this…...” .  Which didn’t impress my father at
all.  He told the foreman to go ahead and fire him, he wasn’t going to
get his head chopped off by someone else who doesn’t know what he’s
doing.  The other soldiers saw my father sitting on the loading dock
and decided they had enough also. So slowly, steadily after 15 or 20
more minutes, almost all the soldiers were sitting on the loading dock
watching the last soldier chop away at the pineapples.  The last
soldier finally looked up, figured out what happened, and dragged his
bag of pineapples to the foreman.  And asked ,“Where’s my dollar?”.
The foreman went nuts, he started cursing and threatening to call the
police on them.  So everyone ran back to the dock where the barge was
and told the sailors there was an emergency they had to leave now.  My
father said as far as he heard from other soldiers, Dole never tried
to use soldiers again.

So that’s why my father always liked Cesar Chavez.  Because Cesar
Chavez stood up for the farm workers, even though he ruined his own
health to do it.