Hay man

I have a new hay man. Yes, another of my old guys has retired. I hated to say goodbye to Joe, who delivered hay to me for almost a decade. Joe is in his seventies. Though he was still vigorously climbing on top of the load and tossing bales into my loft, his wife’s arthritis was kicking up. Helping to bring in 6000 bales of hay every year had become too tough for her. Joe leased out his fields and quit the business.

Joe was another of the old school working men. If you made an appointment for a 10 AM delivery, Joe would arrive at 9:30 or even 9:15 to untie the ropes lashing the hay to the truckbed. This kept you on your toes, and could sometimes lead to an amusing situation in which you had unloaded the hay before the time he was due to arrive.

I found a new hay man on Craigslist this summer. His name is Rick, and he’s my age. A friendly fellow, but he’s Not Joe.

With the first delivery he was an hour late. With the second, I waited for three hours until finally I had to leave to go out to dinner. I heard nothing from Rick that night or the next day. In exasperation I was making arrangements with another hay dealer when I arrived at the barn to find that Rick had belatedly delivered the load. He hadn’t been able to toss all the bales into the loft without a helper so had stacked the last fifty in the barn aisle. I could not bring animals in or out. I was fuming.

However, such is my schoolteacher’s affection for dyslexic boys that it was impossible for me to stay angry when I received Rick’s apologetic email, which said, twice:

“Sorry for the mics-up.”

Rick is due to come with hay this morning. I hope there are no more mics-ups.

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