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RE: [jacksongenealogy] Re: Sharecroppers and Other Tales of the South

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  • JLH
    These have been great stories. From: jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com [mailto:jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of gary_bsanders Sent: Wednesday,
    Message 1 of 63 , Jun 13, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
      These have been great stories.



      From: jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of gary_bsanders
      Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 4:33 PM
      To: jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [jacksongenealogy] Re: Sharecroppers and Other Tales of the South





      Rayburn Hall's statement about how romances were often nurtured in the
      cotton fields was certainly true in my family. In 1948 when my parents and
      their children went to live with a farmer in another county and pick cotton,
      they rented a room on the first floor of the farm house. On the second
      floor, a 24 year old bachelor had rented a room. He soon noticed my 18 year
      old sister and one thing led to another. After our family moved back home,
      he often came to visit and in 1949 they were married. This October they will
      celebrate their 64th wedding anniversary.

      --- In jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com
      <mailto:jacksongenealogy%40yahoogroups.com> , <rayburnhall@...
      <mailto:rayburnhall@...> > wrote:
      >
      > Rayburn Casey Hall
      >
      >
      >
      > Every year when September rolls around my memory goes back to a job I had
      every fall while growing up in Jackson County Alabama on Sand Mountain. I
      picked cotton to earn money for winter school clothes. I know most people
      that picked cotton would rather forget the experience but I really enjoy
      thinking about my life in that period in the 1950's. I learned some valuable
      lessons in work ethics and it help me appreciate life today.
      >
      >
      >
      > The majority of the farms on Sand Mountain were small and the cotton could
      be picked by the members of the family. But the larger farmers with small
      families would hire other families to pick their cotton crops. Daddy wasn't
      a farmer but drove a truck and this gave my family the opportunity to hire
      out to pick cotton for other farmers.
      >
      >
      >
      > Picking cotton is back breaking work because you have to stay bent over at
      the waist dragging a sack behind you with 60 or 70 pounds of cotton in it
      all day. Those people that had weak backs had to crawl along the cotton rows
      on their knees because they couldn't stay bent over all day.
      >
      >
      >
      > Cotton grows inside a round hard ball about the size of a golf ball called
      a cotton boll until it matures. In early Fall the bolls began to open
      exposing the locks of cotton. After the boll opens and dries, it is called a
      cotton burr and has about 4 or 5 sharp spurs on it. The hands of a picker
      stay sore from sticking his fingers with the sharp tips all season.
      >
      >
      >
      > Saw briars and cuckle burrs were a menace that pickers had to contend with
      in the cotton patch. The saw briars would cut your legs and the cuckle burrs
      would stick to your clothes and cotton sack and the cotton itself. Picking
      cotton in a field overgrown with cuckle burrs could really be a sticky mess.
      >
      >
      >
      > But the one thing that would ruin your day was to get stung with a Pack
      Saddle. The Pack Saddle is a worm that is beautiful in color with a design
      on its back that looks like a saddle. The worm loves cotton leaves almost as
      much as the boil weevil loves the cotton boll. Getting stung by the little
      worm was a very painful experience and just hearing about someone else
      getting stung slowed your cotton picking down tremendously.
      >
      >
      >
      > When the cotton picking season begins the weather in the mornings are
      pleasant but the temperatures are Summer like during the afternoons and
      evenings. Later in the season the temperatures can be quite cool in the
      mornings even to the point of frost being formed on the cotton. By this time
      the days are getting shorter and cotton prices are dropping and you can't
      wait until mid morning to hit the fields when the temperatures are warmer.
      If the cotton isn't picked during the Fall because of too many rainy days
      the pickers are still in the fields in the Winter. I have picked cotton with
      ice on the ground and it spitting snow.
      >
      >
      >
      > The best cotton pickers pick 300 or 400 pounds a day. You were paid by the
      pound and the rate ranged from $1.00 to $3.00 per hundred pounds. Because
      all the cotton bolls don't open at the same time, pickers had to go back
      over the field several times a season. The rate of pay was based on whether
      the cotton was being picked the first, second or third time. The first time
      the cotton was harvested it was heavier and there may be a half a dozen
      bolls on the stalk and you received less per pound. But by the third or
      fourth picking the cotton was dry and had maybe one boll to a stalk.
      >
      >
      >
      > But I remember the good times I had picking cotton in spite of the hard
      work. It was a time my family worked together to make money for the entire
      family. We all pitched in and did what we could to help out. My sister took
      care of the baby at the end of the cotton rows under a shade tree but
      sometimes it would ride on one of our cotton sacks through the fields. The
      children old enough to walk but not big enough to drag a sack full of cotton
      walked along side one of us and picked cotton and put it in our sacks.
      Society would be ready to scorn my parents for this today but they raised
      six children and neither one of us can imagine how to make a living without
      performing honest work for it today.
      >
      >
      >
      > I remember finding watermelons in the cotton rows and we would all sit
      down to take a break and rest our backs and eat the melon. There was always
      a water boy that carried ice cold water throughout the field in a jug or
      water bucket to the hands. The water was a great thirst quencher but there
      was no comparison to an ice cold Coke or RC during an afternoon break. This
      was a time when a Cola was a treat and everybody didn't substitute water
      with them.
      >
      >
      >
      > Lunch was always a special time while working in the cotton fields. If you
      worked for a small farmer and he had only a few hands working for him his
      wife would cook dinner for everyone in his home. But I enjoyed eating lunch
      in the fields the most. This meant we got a rare treat for lunch. You may
      laugh but a bologna or potted meat sandwich and Pork N Beans and a Cola was
      something we rarely got when I was a kid. And then there was the time after
      dinner when you could lay under a big Oak tree with a cool breeze and rest
      until work time. But I was like most children, I didn't know what being
      tired and resting was so I joined the other kids playing until work time.
      >
      >
      >
      > From my description of the work in picking cotton I suppose you would
      never think of it being a romantic place to meet the opposite sex but this
      happen to a lot of people. The boys would rush to get the cotton row by a
      pretty girl and the amount of cotton picked depended on how much the girl
      could pick. If she picked a lot of cotton the boy had to work hard to keep
      up and stay beside her. If she was slow very little cotton was picked by
      either person.
      >
      >
      >
      > There was always a contest to see who could pick the most cotton by the
      end of the day. The owner usually was involved in getting these races
      started. One such owner got my brother and me in a contest that I will never
      forget. He promised the winner that he could go to his apple orchard and
      pick all the apples that he could carry back home. I won the contest and got
      the privilege of gathering the apples and carrying them home. A few years
      later I realized something was funny about the contest. My brother ate as
      many apples as I did and that was the only time I remember ever beating him
      in picking cotton.
      >
      >
      >
      > After filling the sacks up the cotton pickers would carry them to a truck
      or a wagon located in the middle of the field to be weighed and emptied.
      Some farmers still used mules to pull the wagons but I rarely saw this in
      1957. Some times if it was a big farmer and he had a lot of hands picking
      cotton he would pay someone extra to empty the sacks. When I got older I had
      the pleasure of making a few extra dollars this way. But most of the time
      the young stronger boys emptied the sacks for the women and older men
      because it was common courtesy and expected.
      >
      >
      >
      > Another part of the job of picking cotton I enjoyed was going to the
      cotton gin. Some times a farmer would hire Daddy to deliver his load of
      cotton to the gin and if it was after work time he would let my brother and
      I go with him. It was a thrill to two young boys to ride on a load of cotton
      in the back of a wagon or truck. If it was after dark and the weather was
      cool we would burrow ourselves in the cotton to keep warm. We always had to
      wait in a long line and this gave us the opportunity to play with the other
      boys waiting in line to unload their cotton.
      >
      >
      >
      > Some times Daddy would let my brother and me help unload the cotton. The
      cotton was vacuumed out of the truck by a big metal pipe that sucked the
      cotton into the cotton gin machinery. We were always warned to never lose
      any thing out of our pockets in the cotton because it would cause the gin to
      catch on fire. After unloading the cotton Daddy would let us go into the gin
      with him to wait on our load to be bailed and weighed. It was really amazing
      to watch the cotton going through the machinery being stretched, pulled and
      shredded to remove the seeds and trash.
      >
      >
      >
      > And then the day finally came when we could take all the money that we had
      saved up from picking cotton and go to town and spend it. We would buy new
      clothes, shoes and a winter coat. After we bought everything we needed we
      would go to a restaurant and eat a hamburger and drink a Coke. If we had
      enough money left, we would go to see a movie after we ate dinner.
      >
      >
      >
      > When I retired a few years ago I had a great job with an office of my own.
      And in my office I had a cotton burr hanging over a plaque given to me by
      the organization that I am employed by for hard work and dedication. When
      people asked me about the cotton burr I told them the cotton burr represent
      my first job and I hope the plaque represent my last job until retirement.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > From: Larry Williams
      > Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 8:19 PM
      > To: jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com
      <mailto:jacksongenealogy%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Subject: Re: [jacksongenealogy] Re: Sharecroppers and Other Tales of the
      South
      >
      >
      > Back then the bologna came in long sticks and we used to call it "cotton
      > picking bologna". Never knew if there was a brand called that or it was
      > called that because they took it to the fields.
      > Larry Williams
      >
      > On Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 4:20 PM, gary_bsanders
      <mailto:gbs0010%40gmail.com> wrote:
      >
      > > **
      > >
      > >
      > > I, too, was given a small "tow sack" when I was about four years old and
      > > allowed to pick cotton with my parents in the fields. I remember how
      > > impressed I was with the amount I picked that day, only to be told later
      > > that I was supposed to separate the cotton from the boll. The best part
      of
      > > the day was when we ate a bologna sandwich (or sometimes sardines and
      > > crackers) for lunch. My little sister once got lost in the cotton field
      and
      > > my parents had to search frantically for her until they found her, all
      safe
      > > and sound.
      > >
      > > Although my parents owned their own small farm, financially they were
      not
      > > much better off than sharecroppers. When the cotton crops came in every
      > > year, they would travel to other counties and work as hired pickers for
      > > farmers who grew cotton. Our family usually lived in rooms provided by
      the
      > > families that employed us. I think this type of arrangement was pretty
      > > common in those days. This was in the late 1940s in East Texas.
      > > --Gary
      > >
      > > --- In mailto:jacksongenealogy%40yahoogroups.com, blackcloud27030@
      wrote:
      > > >
      > > > While my parents were not sharecroppers (they and my Granny worked in
      > > the mills) they did pick cotton for others on the weekends in order to
      earn
      > > extra cash. I remember when I was 4 or 5 years old going with them to
      the
      > > cotton fields, they gave me a kid size bag and I had to reach up to pick
      > > the the cotton, only earned 5 cents or so but that was my first cash
      money.
      > > Was I proud!
      > > >
      > > > My Mother said when they were working in the mills in late 1920s early
      > > 1930s they earned $1.00 per 10 hour day, 6 days a week! The mills
      provided
      > > cheap housing, what was know as "shotgun" houses for the mill workers
      who
      > > did not have a house.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > As far as going barefoot we went barefoot year round only wearing
      shoes
      > > in the winter when it got too cold to go barefoot. We usually got a new
      > > pair of shoes and two sets of new clothes at the start of the new school
      > > year.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > What is a shame it is that all these stories we have told on this
      group
      > > about what it was like growing up in the South in times past will be
      gone
      > > when we are gone as you won't find them in history books and none that
      they
      > > use in the schools today, they only teach the official history. IF they
      are
      > > not told on here, where will they be told? They are part of our oral
      > > history and should be told and remembered.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > There are so many questions that I would like to have asked my
      > > grandparents and parents about what it was like in the late 1880s and
      the
      > > early 1900s and now they are all gone.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > I remember my Granny saying the first auto that came up on Sand
      Mountain
      > > that the livestock went crazy with fear the cows and horses and other
      > > livestock running all over the place trying to get away. The time she
      said
      > > she hated worse was in the late spring with they killed the young male
      > > lambs that their crying when they hung them up to cut their necks was
      when
      > > she would run to the woods so as not to hear their crying.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Clay
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      > --
      > Larry G. Williams
      > Co-Director, Agrimissions
      > 43 Crisp Lane
      > Trenton, GA 30752
      > (706) 657-7778 Home
      > (423) 240-2089 Cell/Business
      > mailto:agrimissions.williams%40gmail.com
      > mailto:lgwilliams1947%40gmail.com
      > http://agrimissions.com
      > http://themissionsociety.org
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • SUE
      thanks for the memories
      Message 63 of 63 , Jun 19, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        thanks for the memories

        --- In jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com, "CULBERSON, SUSAN" <sc1698@...> wrote:
        >
        > What a fantastic view into your childhood! Thanks so very much for sharing!
        >
        > From: jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com [mailto:jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of rayburnhall@...
        > Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 10:42 PM
        > To: jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [jacksongenealogy] Re: Sharecroppers and Other Tales of the South
        >
        >
        >
        > Rayburn Casey Hall
        >
        > Every year when September rolls around my memory goes back to a job I had every fall while growing up in Jackson County Alabama on Sand Mountain. I picked cotton to earn money for winter school clothes. I know most people that picked cotton would rather forget the experience but I really enjoy thinking about my life in that period in the 1950's. I learned some valuable lessons in work ethics and it help me appreciate life today.
        >
        > The majority of the farms on Sand Mountain were small and the cotton could be picked by the members of the family. But the larger farmers with small families would hire other families to pick their cotton crops. Daddy wasn't a farmer but drove a truck and this gave my family the opportunity to hire out to pick cotton for other farmers.
        >
        > Picking cotton is back breaking work because you have to stay bent over at the waist dragging a sack behind you with 60 or 70 pounds of cotton in it all day. Those people that had weak backs had to crawl along the cotton rows on their knees because they couldn't stay bent over all day.
        >
        > Cotton grows inside a round hard ball about the size of a golf ball called a cotton boll until it matures. In early Fall the bolls began to open exposing the locks of cotton. After the boll opens and dries, it is called a cotton burr and has about 4 or 5 sharp spurs on it. The hands of a picker stay sore from sticking his fingers with the sharp tips all season.
        >
        > Saw briars and cuckle burrs were a menace that pickers had to contend with in the cotton patch. The saw briars would cut your legs and the cuckle burrs would stick to your clothes and cotton sack and the cotton itself. Picking cotton in a field overgrown with cuckle burrs could really be a sticky mess.
        >
        > But the one thing that would ruin your day was to get stung with a Pack Saddle. The Pack Saddle is a worm that is beautiful in color with a design on its back that looks like a saddle. The worm loves cotton leaves almost as much as the boil weevil loves the cotton boll. Getting stung by the little worm was a very painful experience and just hearing about someone else getting stung slowed your cotton picking down tremendously.
        >
        > When the cotton picking season begins the weather in the mornings are pleasant but the temperatures are Summer like during the afternoons and evenings. Later in the season the temperatures can be quite cool in the mornings even to the point of frost being formed on the cotton. By this time the days are getting shorter and cotton prices are dropping and you can't wait until mid morning to hit the fields when the temperatures are warmer. If the cotton isn't picked during the Fall because of too many rainy days the pickers are still in the fields in the Winter. I have picked cotton with ice on the ground and it spitting snow.
        >
        > The best cotton pickers pick 300 or 400 pounds a day. You were paid by the pound and the rate ranged from $1.00 to $3.00 per hundred pounds. Because all the cotton bolls don't open at the same time, pickers had to go back over the field several times a season. The rate of pay was based on whether the cotton was being picked the first, second or third time. The first time the cotton was harvested it was heavier and there may be a half a dozen bolls on the stalk and you received less per pound. But by the third or fourth picking the cotton was dry and had maybe one boll to a stalk.
        >
        > But I remember the good times I had picking cotton in spite of the hard work. It was a time my family worked together to make money for the entire family. We all pitched in and did what we could to help out. My sister took care of the baby at the end of the cotton rows under a shade tree but sometimes it would ride on one of our cotton sacks through the fields. The children old enough to walk but not big enough to drag a sack full of cotton walked along side one of us and picked cotton and put it in our sacks. Society would be ready to scorn my parents for this today but they raised six children and neither one of us can imagine how to make a living without performing honest work for it today.
        >
        > I remember finding watermelons in the cotton rows and we would all sit down to take a break and rest our backs and eat the melon. There was always a water boy that carried ice cold water throughout the field in a jug or water bucket to the hands. The water was a great thirst quencher but there was no comparison to an ice cold Coke or RC during an afternoon break. This was a time when a Cola was a treat and everybody didn't substitute water with them.
        >
        > Lunch was always a special time while working in the cotton fields. If you worked for a small farmer and he had only a few hands working for him his wife would cook dinner for everyone in his home. But I enjoyed eating lunch in the fields the most. This meant we got a rare treat for lunch. You may laugh but a bologna or potted meat sandwich and Pork N Beans and a Cola was something we rarely got when I was a kid. And then there was the time after dinner when you could lay under a big Oak tree with a cool breeze and rest until work time. But I was like most children, I didn't know what being tired and resting was so I joined the other kids playing until work time.
        >
        > From my description of the work in picking cotton I suppose you would never think of it being a romantic place to meet the opposite sex but this happen to a lot of people. The boys would rush to get the cotton row by a pretty girl and the amount of cotton picked depended on how much the girl could pick. If she picked a lot of cotton the boy had to work hard to keep up and stay beside her. If she was slow very little cotton was picked by either person.
        >
        > There was always a contest to see who could pick the most cotton by the end of the day. The owner usually was involved in getting these races started. One such owner got my brother and me in a contest that I will never forget. He promised the winner that he could go to his apple orchard and pick all the apples that he could carry back home. I won the contest and got the privilege of gathering the apples and carrying them home. A few years later I realized something was funny about the contest. My brother ate as many apples as I did and that was the only time I remember ever beating him in picking cotton.
        >
        > After filling the sacks up the cotton pickers would carry them to a truck or a wagon located in the middle of the field to be weighed and emptied. Some farmers still used mules to pull the wagons but I rarely saw this in 1957. Some times if it was a big farmer and he had a lot of hands picking cotton he would pay someone extra to empty the sacks. When I got older I had the pleasure of making a few extra dollars this way. But most of the time the young stronger boys emptied the sacks for the women and older men because it was common courtesy and expected.
        >
        > Another part of the job of picking cotton I enjoyed was going to the cotton gin. Some times a farmer would hire Daddy to deliver his load of cotton to the gin and if it was after work time he would let my brother and I go with him. It was a thrill to two young boys to ride on a load of cotton in the back of a wagon or truck. If it was after dark and the weather was cool we would burrow ourselves in the cotton to keep warm. We always had to wait in a long line and this gave us the opportunity to play with the other boys waiting in line to unload their cotton.
        >
        > Some times Daddy would let my brother and me help unload the cotton. The cotton was vacuumed out of the truck by a big metal pipe that sucked the cotton into the cotton gin machinery. We were always warned to never lose any thing out of our pockets in the cotton because it would cause the gin to catch on fire. After unloading the cotton Daddy would let us go into the gin with him to wait on our load to be bailed and weighed. It was really amazing to watch the cotton going through the machinery being stretched, pulled and shredded to remove the seeds and trash.
        >
        > And then the day finally came when we could take all the money that we had saved up from picking cotton and go to town and spend it. We would buy new clothes, shoes and a winter coat. After we bought everything we needed we would go to a restaurant and eat a hamburger and drink a Coke. If we had enough money left, we would go to see a movie after we ate dinner.
        >
        > When I retired a few years ago I had a great job with an office of my own. And in my office I had a cotton burr hanging over a plaque given to me by the organization that I am employed by for hard work and dedication. When people asked me about the cotton burr I told them the cotton burr represent my first job and I hope the plaque represent my last job until retirement.
        >
        > From: Larry Williams
        > Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 8:19 PM
        > To: jacksongenealogy@yahoogroups.com<mailto:jacksongenealogy%40yahoogroups.com>
        > Subject: Re: [jacksongenealogy] Re: Sharecroppers and Other Tales of the South
        >
        > Back then the bologna came in long sticks and we used to call it "cotton
        > picking bologna". Never knew if there was a brand called that or it was
        > called that because they took it to the fields.
        > Larry Williams
        >
        > On Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 4:20 PM, gary_bsanders <mailto:gbs0010%40gmail.com> wrote:
        >
        > > **
        > >
        > >
        > > I, too, was given a small "tow sack" when I was about four years old and
        > > allowed to pick cotton with my parents in the fields. I remember how
        > > impressed I was with the amount I picked that day, only to be told later
        > > that I was supposed to separate the cotton from the boll. The best part of
        > > the day was when we ate a bologna sandwich (or sometimes sardines and
        > > crackers) for lunch. My little sister once got lost in the cotton field and
        > > my parents had to search frantically for her until they found her, all safe
        > > and sound.
        > >
        > > Although my parents owned their own small farm, financially they were not
        > > much better off than sharecroppers. When the cotton crops came in every
        > > year, they would travel to other counties and work as hired pickers for
        > > farmers who grew cotton. Our family usually lived in rooms provided by the
        > > families that employed us. I think this type of arrangement was pretty
        > > common in those days. This was in the late 1940s in East Texas.
        > > --Gary
        > >
        > > --- In mailto:jacksongenealogy%40yahoogroups.com, blackcloud27030@ wrote:
        > > >
        > > > While my parents were not sharecroppers (they and my Granny worked in
        > > the mills) they did pick cotton for others on the weekends in order to earn
        > > extra cash. I remember when I was 4 or 5 years old going with them to the
        > > cotton fields, they gave me a kid size bag and I had to reach up to pick
        > > the the cotton, only earned 5 cents or so but that was my first cash money.
        > > Was I proud!
        > > >
        > > > My Mother said when they were working in the mills in late 1920s early
        > > 1930s they earned $1.00 per 10 hour day, 6 days a week! The mills provided
        > > cheap housing, what was know as "shotgun" houses for the mill workers who
        > > did not have a house.
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > As far as going barefoot we went barefoot year round only wearing shoes
        > > in the winter when it got too cold to go barefoot. We usually got a new
        > > pair of shoes and two sets of new clothes at the start of the new school
        > > year.
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > What is a shame it is that all these stories we have told on this group
        > > about what it was like growing up in the South in times past will be gone
        > > when we are gone as you won't find them in history books and none that they
        > > use in the schools today, they only teach the official history. IF they are
        > > not told on here, where will they be told? They are part of our oral
        > > history and should be told and remembered.
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > There are so many questions that I would like to have asked my
        > > grandparents and parents about what it was like in the late 1880s and the
        > > early 1900s and now they are all gone.
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > I remember my Granny saying the first auto that came up on Sand Mountain
        > > that the livestock went crazy with fear the cows and horses and other
        > > livestock running all over the place trying to get away. The time she said
        > > she hated worse was in the late spring with they killed the young male
        > > lambs that their crying when they hung them up to cut their necks was when
        > > she would run to the woods so as not to hear their crying.
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > Clay
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        > --
        > Larry G. Williams
        > Co-Director, Agrimissions
        > 43 Crisp Lane
        > Trenton, GA 30752
        > (706) 657-7778 Home
        > (423) 240-2089 Cell/Business
        > mailto:agrimissions.williams%40gmail.com
        > mailto:lgwilliams1947%40gmail.com
        > http://agrimissions.com
        > http://themissionsociety.org
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
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