Hay Haulin’

hay hauling

A few years ago (55, maybe 60) Sylvia & I helped uncles Dwight & Ves haul hay. Their old truck loaded looked a lot like the one on the left below. It had a loader hooked to the side to run the bales up to the bed of the truck.

Sylvia got to steer the truck because her legs were long enough to reach the clutch & break. I walked ahead lining up the hay bales so they would feed into the loader just right. Ves & Dwight rode the bed to stack the hay.

The truck had a “compound” gear – a very low-low low gear. It would creep along without her giving it any gas at all & across any terrain. We went round & round the hayfield till the load was topped-off.

They would tie the load down with ropes across the hay, front to back, cinched tightly down to the bumpers. Sylvia & I got to ride the several miles back to the hay barn on top of the hay directly over the truck’s cab.

I can’t ever recall a more enjoyable ride down the highway (& byway) than with the wind blowing the sweat away sitting on top of those bales. We held onto the tie down rope but I cannot ever remember fearing anything except the occasional electric line passing low overhead.

Sylvia reminded me not long ago that we drank our first beer riding down the road up on top. One evening, just at dark & after a brutal long hot summer day of hay hauling, we stopped at Crowell’s store. Crowell’s was an old-fashioned country store where ice boxes were literally boxes with ice in them to keep perishable foods cool and drinks cold.

My uncles would buy themselves a beer & pop for Sylvia & I to celebrate the end of a long days work. On that evening though, Uncle Dwight handed up beer to us saying that we had earned it this day.

So, there we rode down the road, two pre-teens, after a very long hot day, on top of a huge load of hay, waving at passing cars, horse-drawn wagons, & pedestrians both on foot and one horses, and drinking our first beer. Sometimes things just don’t get any better.

Now the question might arise, was this not an exceedingly dangerous way for two kids to ride down the road? Probably, but I do not care. I always thought it was a lot safer than walking along all day in front of a big old loaded truck with cousin Sylvia driving it.


The Long Line of Yellow Cones – A Story of Brothers

Several, probably many, year ago a truck driver friend told me this story for the truth.

My friend -Bob- was driving processed chickens from Broken Bow, OK, just east of here, out to California markets. Interstate 40 from Oklahoma City west is an interesting drive 4-5 times but by the twentieth or so it is a mind numbing type of boring.

Bob bored his truck through a lot of long boring nights. The radios voices droning, the road thumping beneath the cab and that long unbroken line down the center of the road created their own problems. Truckers find humor in a lot of things just from going to sleep.

On a typical early morning around 2 AM, Bob found himself entering a construction zone. The road closed to a single lane with an endless line of yellow plastic cones marching off into the dark. The lowered speed limit of 45 MPH (72 KPS) seemed useless because there was absolutely no other traffic.

As his imagination strayed a little “bump, bump” brought him back to his job. He had caught 4-5 of the obnoxious yellow cones with his bumper and sent them dancing.

After a moment or two, Bob eased his rig back to the left and tapped several more cones. For no other reason than boredom he hammered the cones several times. It was a minor amusement but something tickled in the recesses of his mind.

The cones ended as all things. And, sure enough, dead ahead of Bob was that ‘tickle’ in the back of his mind. A highway patrol car sat on the right shoulder and as he looked, the bright red and blue lights came on and skewered the night in all directions.

Resigned to a ticket ol’ Bob geared the big heavy rig down and locked his brakes.

The highway patrol officer walked past the trailer full of dead birds to the cab. Bob was a little startled to see a big grin on the uniformed officer’s face.

“Evening,” said the officer, “please lock up your rig…we have a little job.”

A little abashed, Bob wondered if he was being arrested out here in the middle of nowhere. He did as requested and followed the policeman back to his vehicle. Bob opened the passenger side door as the officer signaled and sat down.

“I would like to see your license, please,” the uniformed peace officer said. He merely glanced it over and passed it quickly back.

A little sternly he stated to Bob, “I was standing outside as you came through there (the construction zone) and noticed you kicked a few of those cones with your bumper.” “Let’s go round them up,” he continued.

Faced with the inevitable, Bob just nodded as they flipped around and headed back.

At the first row of cones scattered around the truck driver got out and gathered them one by on and set them back aright. As he got back into the car the highway patrolman said, “my name is Rick,” and extended his hand to shake.

Rick it seemed had as big a problem with long nights as the truck drivers. Bob shook the hand, returned the good natured smile and started talking as they approached the next row of ‘un-horsed’ cones.

Neither mentioned the cones but they began to talk, joke and laugh their way along. Somewhere during the ‘job’, they discovered that both were Vets and had served in Vietnam; tho at different times.

The last couple of cone breaks Rick helped Bob reset them and they finished-up with a feeling of companionship that most Vets find with others who served.

When the car was finally back to the starting spot and parked, they both exited and walked slowly back to the truck’s big cab. Bob unlocked the door and stood there a little disappointed to end the chance meeting.

The shook hands and Rick stated, “Pull me over if you see me and I’ll buy you a cuppa!”

With that he turned & walked back to his car. Bob climbed aboard, fired up the rig and watched as Rick crossed the median with his patrol rig and went the opposite direction.

They never met again.