Beating the Rain
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Steve Slagle ate a pound of bacon and a dozen eggs that morning. Tom Plummer was so beat that he passed out in my Chevelle. I was dog tired, too, but we hauled all the bales before the rain.
We did that job every year for 23 years until the summer of 2000. By then, the farm's east side was consumed by a subdivision. All that was left of that once-majestic farm were 20 acres on the westernmost edge. As I brought the loader home after we finished baling, I stopped to get gas, and a few fellas became curious. They stood a few feet away, talked and pointed at my hay loader. Finally, one man mustered the courage and asked me, 'What is that machine?' That's when I realized that a new generation - an urban culture -was taking over, one which which hadn't hauled hay, picked watermelons or cotton, or even castrated hogs.
Today, the hay field is almost all houses. Yet, every time I drive by, I can still picture the bluestem grass waving in the breeze, Louise meeting us at the gate to convince us to haul one more load, and Steve eating that pound of bacon and dozen eggs in one sitting.
Those hay haulin' days may be gone, but the memories remain like that old Viking truck. FC
- Kelly Cox was a custom hay hauler for years, and now farms wheat, corn and other crops. Contact him at P.O. Box 156, Leonard, OK 74043.
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