When August rolled around, Mom and Dad would wake us up at 4:00 in the morning. We’d pile into the backseat of our white Toyota Corona and drive an hour to Yuba City to pick plums for a plum farmer. In the backseat of our Toyota, I sank into the comfort and security of being with my family and watched the traffic lights and the early morning sky pass by in a magical swirl. Soon, Dad pulled the car into a long driveway, and we all got out. There were other families there, too, and each family took two rows of trees. Dad worked ahead of us and used a pole to hit the plums so they would fall to the ground, then we’d pick them up on our hands and knees. We were paid by the bucket, and after a week we had each earned about sixty dollars to purchase new clothes for the school year. I’ve been a hard worker all my life. It’s a gift I got from my parents and it’s part of my personal brand.