chapter  10
9 Pages

The ride up the branch

The ride up the branch! But what, indeed, was the branch-rail, river, or water? The river and the rail line wound north together, but it was the irrigated river water that made the valley a green band among brown hills. The rails brought empty refrigerator cars in the late summer and, of course, the workers. Short weeks later the reefers would carry away the crop, and somewhere in the nooks and crannies of the train the tramps would ride out as well. The only irony may have been that it all took place so easily, so neatly. The crops grew; the workers circulated in and circulated out with the fruit, and most of the money generated in the process never left the county.