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Tales of a Hay Hauler: Enough

Brad Nelson Published on 31 May 2010

Leo was also a gardener. His garden was like mine, a miracle garden. With the travel schedule of a hay hauler, it was a miracle if the garden survived.

Both of us came from families that at one time or another had to depend heavily on the produce of the garden for food for the family. Leo usually had more space for a garden and a wider variety of crops from it. There was always some sharing back and forth of the produce.

I remember the year Leo’s dad had more wine grapes than he and Leo could use and he asked if I would like some. Leo liked to make a little homemade wine but knew that I was one of those “teetotalers” and was a little hesitant when he offered me the grapes.

I called my wife, and she said to bring them home. She allowed as how if they could be made into wine, she could just as easily make them into grape jelly. They were a very light-colored grape, and so was the jelly – so much that it surprised you that it tasted so much like grape jelly.

One morning as Leo’s red truck met up with my old yellow hay truck, he was moaning about his breakfast. He said that he had wandered out to his garden and got a pair of those little green hot peppers and chopped them up in his scrambled eggs.

He was still blowing fire out of his mouth. “One would have been a plenty, and about half of one would have been enough,” was the comment on his morning.

Back in junior high school the civics class observed an example of “enough.” Classroom decorum was usually in short supply. One day the teacher had to leave the classroom for a bit and when he returned, the quiet study hall atmosphere he had left erupted into something just short of pandemonium.

It started innocently enough with two people in the class conversing in a whisper. Then to be heard over the other whispers, the volume went up. Then it got so loud that no one could even pretend to be studying.

Paul Adams, who introduced himself as “Paul, the Adams boy” happened to have his back to the door of the classroom and was in the middle of a good story when Mr. C walked through the door.

The room fell silent except for Paul, who did not realize the teacher was back until he heard himself, now in the silence, speak a line of the story he was telling in the same volume everyone else had been at half a second before... “Then this big Texan stepped out in the street…..” and then fell silent. One-quarter of a second before Mr. C hit him over the head with a huge book, and said, “Enough!”

One of us asked Paul later if he intended to tell his dad about getting hit over the head by the teacher and get the teacher in trouble. Paul gave us a fishy look, and then said,

“I may not be the brightest kid in school, but I’m not stupid enough to go home and tell my father that I torqued off the teacher so bad that I got smacked!”

This same Paul Adams later rode a Harley-Davidson motorbike to school. It was Harley’s only attempt to compete with Honda. The Harley Paul rode was about 125cc in size.

One day at lunch time one of the “big guys” managed to hot-wire the little Harley and was sitting astraddle of it rapping up the motor. As he had the motor on the uptake, one of the bystanders reached over with his foot and kicked the foot-operated shift lever into gear.

The little bike did an instant wheelie and we all thought the Harley and Jim Fry were going to self-destruct on a brick wall. Jim got it shut down without injury to anything but his pride.

We asked Paul if he was going to quit riding the bike. He reached in his pocket and pulled out the spark-plug wire from the Harley. “Enough is enough. Nobody can hot-wire it without the wire,” was his reply.

Another fellow not from my hometown told this tale. At his high school, kids would be kicked off the team if there were any evidence that they were smoking, even once.

What the kids had had enough of was that the office all the coaches used generally had the stench of tobacco smoke about it, not to mention the smoke flowing out of the open windows in warm weather. (This was back before air-conditioning was a necessity for school buildings.)

One warm spring or fall day this fellow was approached by another student, who picked up a hose, kinked it and handed it to the storyteller.

“Hold this,” he said, as he disappeared around the corner of the building towards the open window to the coaches’ office. He came back in just a few seconds, and said, “You can put that down now, and it would be a good idea if we left the area.”

About an hour later the P.A. system came alive with the message, “Will anyone who knows how the rain-bird sprinkler got into the coaches’ office please contact the principal’s office at once?”

The perpetrator, making sure no one of authority was listening, commented that someone must have thought the place was on fire.

There are some things in life that there is not enough of. Like having my grown daughters still call me “daddy.” I told my 8-year-old grandson I would teach him to weld one day.

We had time the other day, and two welding hoods. I gathered up some scrap metal and a 6011 rod and showed him what it looked like while I ran a short bead.

Then I had him take the stinger in his hand, and I put mine over his and helped him strike an arc. We ran a bead together for about an inch, when he cried out, “Ouch” and jerked his hand and the stinger away. A hot spark had found his hand. That was enough.

He watched through his hood as I welded two small pieces of the scrap iron together, and showed him how the metal from the rod melted into the two pieces and then became a single piece of steel.

He was still done welding for the day. He told his Mom and Gran that he got to weld but that he also got hurt, but every day since he has asked me when I can teach him to weld some more.

The fact that the little ones, the bigger ones and the bunkmate of over 40 years love me and respect me and still want me to “show them how” ... that may just be enough.  FG