Friday, July 23, 2010
I have some very very good neighbors. At the church potluck the other evening, Mrs. B. asked me if we'd be needing any hay this year. I said, "we sure do! But our pickup truck is out of commission at the moment. I'll have to figure something out and let you know."
Next morning, her husband calls me and says he's got the hay all loaded up on his trailer and he and his neighbor Mr. M. can be at my place in fifteen minutes if my husband were home to help them unload. Mr. B. and Mr. M. are both retired gentlemen of an age I wouldn't like to guess at, but at least as old as my parents. They, along with Homero, unloaded and stacked seventy-two standard sized bales of very nice local grass hay in about an hour. By the end, the two gentlemen were a bit sweaty and winded, but so was Homero.
It was great to listen to them talking about their younger days. "When I was twenty, I used to do this all day long," said Mr. M. "And milk the cows before and after." Mr. B. told a story about haying with a teenage boy some time ago who complained he couldn't lift the bales high enough - when Mr. B. picked up a bale and tossed it up where it needed to go, the teenager suddenly discovered the resources to match the old man. After we finished, I poured everyone some coffee and we all sat on the hay wagon and talked for a while.
I love the people I've met through church - it's wonderful to have access to people who are real farmers, people who have been farming and ranching in this area for many decades and know just about all there is to know. There aren't a whole lot of real old farmers left around here, and in ten or twenty years there might not be any. I am so happy and feel so privileged to have met these folks, and any chance I get I discreetly pump them for stories and memories.
Not to mention, they are flat out some of the nicest people I've ever met. Last fall, Mr. M. brought me some wild ducks he had shot because he heard me talking about how much my husband loves duck. He taught me to butcher them, too. His wife is one of the warmest, most welcoming ladies at church. There are other great old farming families too - The other Mr. and Mrs. B. who live up the road and raise beef cattle, for example. My greatest hope in life is to eventually become one of them!