Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)
TITLE: Hauling in the green
By mark walters
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In my late 30’s already, and seriously underweight; I wasn’t anxiously anticipating the enjoyment of heaving the hundred pound sticker laden cubes up to the catcher waiting to grab them. Ranch work didn’t tend to make most folks overweight. Working stock, building fence and hauling hay every day in the spring, fall and summer, has a rather slimming effect on the profile.
I had only whittled away the outermost two circles of this coil of cattle fodder, when the driver stopped his rig. “I don’t think I have a gear on this truck that will let me drive slowly enough for you to keep up. Why don’t you hop up and be a catcher?”
“That’s a great idea,” I agreed; although that wasn’t what I as thinking at the time. However, living and working at the same location made me think twice about telling the boss what to do with this job. Way, way out in the country, there was no due process of law and the eviction process was usually fairly quick, consisting of burning the tenant’s property on the front lawn while chanting “I evict thee”, three times. Never having been fond of living in my truck, I decided to acquiesce to his wonderful suggestion.
Actually the trailer bed was a lot easier to work, than trying to keep up on foot with my one good leg. The other catcher didn’t smile at all when he was told to relieve me on the ground. He was mumbling something about being 50 years old and still throwing hay bales. At the moment I did not concur with his estimation. He didn’t even look 50, maybe 49 tops.
Now at last the driver claimed he would be able to hear the sound of the truck over my wheezing. That was a gross exaggeration of course. My “wheezing” was actually a dirge I was singing to lighten my fears of immediate cardiac arrest: “Oh, (wheeze) my darlin’, (gasp) Clementine.”
After an hour or so of this thrilling endeavor we repaired to the hay loft to rid ourselves of the catch of the day. If you have ever stacked hay in a barn on a hot summer afternoon, count yourself fortunate, nay, blessed of God. Now you can easily endure the Chinese water torture, the rack or an IRS audit without even breaking a sweat.
A hay loft in a summer afternoon has an airless, steamy quality about it. What with the lack of air circulation, the dust from the hay and dirt being rapidly churned as hay bales fly through the loft door as fast as the elevator is able to drop them into the nice 100+ degree metal barn and the voices from below urging your haste.
I know these civil folk were surely not using curse words to describe my pace. They were an amusing lot; barely able to conceal their mirth by the dark threats uttered through clenched teeth. But they didn’t rush upstairs to replace me in the loft. No one wanted to work the loft. If hell had an upstairs apartment it was located here. At last I had found true job security, no more bread lines for me.
We were grateful for the coffee break after an hour or so of stacking the wonderful green bales in the nice cool barn. Instead of drinking a hot cup of coffee in the 105 degree heat like the boss, we plunged ourselves into the river. We knew he’d be grateful for not having to waste valuable hay hauling time hassling with funeral parlors.
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