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A day in the life of …

Progressive Forage Grower Editor Cassidy Woolsey Published on 01 June 2017

Think of a time when you walked in someone else’s shoes. And I don’t mean when you forgot your muck boots helping a neighbor sort cows. I’m talking full-on “I’ve been where you’ve been” type of a thing.

During my junior year of high school, I took on a part-time job as a waitress at the local cafe. Occupied with country folk and their usual chatter regarding our school’s latest football game or how many cuts of hay they got this year, it was a fine way to earn some cash.

One particular Saturday, we had more than the usual number of customers. With a line out the door, it was as if the cafe was giving away big screen TVs on Black Friday – except Black Friday customers were more cheerful.

One out-of-towner, who had waited 40 minutes for his meal, was at his wits’ end. This was my second time checking on his order, and to my horror, it wasn’t even in the lineup. Somehow it had fallen behind the counter.

With my smile slowly fading, I trudged back to the customer to make light of the situation. Despite offering him a free meal, he gave me a good cussing and pointed out the errors in his service. He then waited the extra 15 minutes for his meal, left some pennies for a tip and bolted out the door like a bull zapped with a hotshot.

Now, I don’t blame him. That’s not what this is about. But if he had realized what happened was completely out of my control (hey, I just served the food), maybe he would have taken a different approach. He wouldn’t be the only customer to make me realize waitressing was a job I didn’t want to do long, but he taught me a valuable lesson on perspective that day.

Fast-forwarding to last year’s silage harvest, I spent a couple of weekends as a seat warmer while my husband drove truck. During one of my outings, everything seemed to be falling apart – literally. A couple of drivelines needed to be replaced, the 2-year-old chopper quit running and, on top of that, it rained all week.

It wasn’t long before we had a trail of irritated customers wondering when their corn was going to be chopped and why they weren’t next on the list. With the boss’s phone buzzing, I couldn’t help but wonder if these folks thought we were perched on a lawn chair in Cancun sipping a cold lemonade. I for one can attest: That day was far from a beachside vacation.

I was aware of the challenges of custom harvesting, but I didn’t fully appreciate them until I spent a day in the passenger seat. I even remember my dad grumbling a day or two about his baler being late. But just like my experience as a waitress or passenger seat warmer, you never know what’s going on behind the scenes.

This season, keep in mind there are a lot of factors associated with custom harvesting, so do your best to help make everything run smoothly. Letting your harvesters know about road closures, obstructions in the field, narrow bridges or simply having your place ready to go makes a world of difference.

Although my stint as a waitress has ended, and my husband has accepted a different job, I have a sense of respect for those who do it every day. All it took was a few months or even a couple of days in their shoes.

Oh, that reminds me, I have to teach a lesson coming up in church – does anyone want to trade me shoes?  end mark

Cassidy Woolsey
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