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Tales of a Hay Hauler: Lessons of Life

Brad Nelson Published on 08 September 2010

In 1953 Henry Ford’s outfit built a marvelous Mercury automobile. It was the last year of the famous flathead V-8 engine, and in the Mercury it had 255 cubic inches; in comparison, its cheaper Ford cousin only had 239 cubic inches.

By the time I got it in 1963, the previous three owners had discarded it as a lost cause. It cost all of $125, and I got close to a year’s use and headaches from it. When the head gasket leaked, I installed a new one. A week later, it leaked too.

My friend Dean Callahan asked me how I went about tightening the head bolts. He laughed at me when I told him I had just randomly tightened all the head bolts. Then he told me that I needed to kind of start in the middle and work evenly toward the outside edges. It worked better that way.

Never issue a directive you cannot or will not enforce. I remember an incident from the life of David O. McKay. As he drove home one day, he observed one of his sons losing an argument with a horse.

The horse ran off, and the son came walking dejectedly toward his house. He was admonished by his father that he should go and catch the horse and work with it until it did whatever it was he had been trying to get it to do when it bolted and ran off.

“Otherwise, that horse will always know that he can get the better of you,” was the reasoning. Think about it. Whether it be a horse, a dog or a child, if there is no follow-up when a firm directive is given, what good is the directive?

Never laugh at someone who has diarrhea. He may know what caused it, and there may be some left. And since his affliction with diarrhea caused so much laughter, and laughter is good, he may want to share.

Never harass the cook. It may lead to smaller portions. The cook may also know what causes diarrhea.

Learn to control anger as early in life as you can. No one can be angry and think clearly at the same time. Among the root causes for needing an ambulance, anger is right up there with intoxication and gross stupidity. (Comes to mind the ambulance call to aid an inebriated young man who passed out while urinating in the campfire and fell into the fire.)

If you are not replaceable, you become also not promotable. Think on that one for awhile. One more on the same topic is: Never make a big deal on your resume about something you never want to do again.

If the father of the person you are dating takes a liking to you and then shares with you things of a warning nature about the person you are dating, believe it. Years back the father of a young man who was entranced with my older daughter spoke to me.

He spent a good twenty minutes telling me why his son was not good for my daughter. I relayed the conversation to my daughter and she told me that she had already figured out all of the above. She was as shocked as I was that the boy’s father felt the need to give us “fair warning.”

One of my sons told me of a dating experience involving the father of the young lady he was taking out that night. He arrived to find the father on the front porch cleaning his shotgun. He recognized the make and model, and started talking guns and shooting with the man.

About a half hour later the date came and took him by the ear and hauled him off toward his car. The last thing he heard from the father as they left was, “You come back any time, son!”

It is not a good idea to do something the big kids are trying to talk you into doing if they are not all doing it themselves. And not being in trouble for doing it.

If you think you understand the price cycles of hay and weather, you have not been in the hay business long enough.

Electricity is always dangerous. Stolen watermelon does not taste better.

Do not touch anything you do not understand. Especially while on a date.

Prayer is not understood by most. Here is the best recipe I know of. Ponder the question you have for a long time. Give your honest best shot at finding the answer by yourself.

Then after pouring out your concerns in whatever form of prayer works for you, spend much time pondering on the question again. Prayers are answered.

Most answers are missed, either because they are not heard over the TV or I-pod, or because the answer is not something we expected or wanted to hear.

The alternative spelling for “luck” is “work”. There is no situation so tedious that it cannot be made worse by whining about it. (Would you like some cheese to go with your “whine”?)

The low bid is seldom the best buy. A used luxury automobile is generally a good buy. A used pick-up truck from Owyhee County, Idaho, is not a good buy. No matter how good a deal you get on a car, someone you know will have just got a better one for less money that gets better gas mileage. At the deli – nothing tastes as good as it looks and it’s all fattening.

The cat that you hate, which wakes you up because the house is full of smoke, becomes tolerable.

I think I know what it is that makes me love my wife, but I have no idea why she would ever love me.  FG

Brad Nelson



Brad Nelson

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