Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chapter 119 Hell's Bales

We baled a lot of hay between May and the end of September, the hottest time of the year. We started baling as soon as the hay was dry enough in the morning and would bale all day. As soon as the bales hit the ground we would start loading and hauling. We had a flatbed ton and half truck that would haul 100 bales at a time.  You would pick the bales up and throw them on to the truck and if no one was on the bed of the truck, you would jump up there every once in a while and stack the bales, then jump down and start throwing bales up again. 

Once the truck was loaded, you drove into the barn in an alleyway. Next, you would start throwing the bales up in to the hayloft. The bales usually weighed from 65 to 70 lbs. and would seem like 150 lbs. at the end of a long day. Chip and Tom worked on the weekends and all during the summer. We went “high tech” when I bought each of them their own hay hook. Their job was especially tough when they got up in the top of the hayloft in the barn. It was about 130 degrees in there with hay dust in their noses, eyes and ears, Chip had hay fever and his eyes would be running as well as his nose. I always accused him of wanting to get out of climbing up in the barn but it would be too much for Tom to handle by himself. Charlotte was usually the driver of the truck. 
Chip and Tom helped with the baling every summer. I remember being at a Christmas party with Chip and Pamela one time down in the Park Cities. Chip was talking a short way from me to a group of men telling “That’s nuthin” stories. I overheard Chip announce, “I know exactly what Hell is like. It’s baling hay in Collin County in the middle of August.” All his friends laughed but I think he was probably dead serious.

One August afternoon Bob Cox and I were baling hay over at the Desert place. Bob was loading the trailer and pulling it with our tractor. I was finishing out a load on the big truck. It was late afternoon and 100 plus degrees. I was standing on the top of the load about 15 feet off the ground and pushing in the last bale at the very back with my boot. As I stepped back my boot caught in the wire around the bale and I went off backward from the top of the load. I lit head first and tried to turn so I would land on my shoulders but my arm slammed into the ground with a terrific force. 

I knew immediately I had broken it. I got up and determined I had not broken anything else and unbuttoned my shirt and slipped my arm into it. I got into the truck and drove it over to where Bob was, got out and started driving the tractor so he could finish the loading the trailer that held about 80 bales. I drove the loaded trailer to a barn we had on the place and parked it inside the barn. When I came out to meet Bob and the hay truck, he spotted my arm in my shirt for the first time. He asked, “What’s wrong with your arm?” I replied,” I broke it.” 

He said let’s get on into McKinney (20 miles) and get you to a doctor. We drove to the emergency room at the hospital and a Dr. Larry Hines set it. He said I had broken it in three places above the wrist. It was about to rain so Bob drove on to my farm to get the truck with hay out of the weather and into the barn. 

Photo of hay raking found here.  
Photo of hay baling found here.  
Photo of tractor with bales found here.

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