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Tales of a Hay Hauler: Random grumblings, random thanks, y’all

Brad Nelson Published on 24 September 2015

A grandson and I were at a luncheon the other day. He found the dessert table before I did, and I had to threaten to confiscate his goodies to get him to show me where it was. The fellow who had been sitting across from me joined me at the dessert table.

He said he asked my grandson if he thought there would still be some dessert left for him. The kid told him, “Maybe – if you get ahead of my grandpa.”

I realized that this was one small success in life because I thought this boy would never develop a sense of humor. He takes as well as he dishes out – unless his younger sister is teasing him. I have to keep reminding him that eventually his sister is going to have a really cute girlfriend he’s going to want to impress.

“If you are not nice to your sister,” I remind him, “Then when that day happens, she may tell her friend that you still wet the bed.”

A fellow was commenting on cars that were prone to last a long time. One was the Ford Crown Vic. He said that the 200,000-mile service would include, “Put a new piece of tape on the dash to cover the check engine light.”

The reason for this is that the sensors that deal with the fine-tuning of the emissions start going haywire faster than you can replace them, even though the car still runs just fine.

My body must be the equivalent of 200,000 miles. The time once was that when I needed water in my system, I’d feel thirsty. I’ve learned that when I start feeling tired and just a touch woozy to grab a bottle of water and chug it. It usually takes five minutes, and then all systems seem to be fine.

The same thing happens when I get too hot. I don’t feel it coming on until it has arrived. I used to sweat like crazy and feel too hot before there was an issue.

A bowl of chili with almost too much jalapeño to eat will open up stuffed sinuses better than any pills – and without the side effects. Hot Chinese mustard or straight horseradish will do the same.

My grown sons range from 37 to 45 years old. I still get texts like, “I broke the tip of a file off by accident inside a cylinder on my Suburban trying to find top dead-center. My little magnet won’t reach it. Any ideas?” I told him to try super-gluing a little magnet to the end of something flexible, like a bicycle brake cable. Ten minutes later his text said, “Got it!” complete with a picture.

One son remembered that I had a set of cobalt drill bits. He said that a dirty rackfratz broke off while fixing his truck, and his drill bits only self-destructed. Later, he told me that my cobalt bit cut right through it.

dipstick tube puller

They still share with me successes they have when they figure something out by themselves. The latest was a text stating that if the dipstick tube on a Cat truck engine wouldn’t come out with a firm pull, you would have to remove the oil pan and drive it out from below. He made an internal gripping puller and sent a picture of it, bragging on his success. I told him that it must be the hay hauler DNA.

My knees hurt when I see someone jumping down from the deck of a hay trailer. I still use a bicycle to keep my mechanical knees freed up, as well as good old exercise. I pulled into a rest area a while back, with the bike on my pickup. Another fellow there told me if I drove a Chevy instead of a Dodge I wouldn’t need the bike. I told him he was correct. The bicycle, I explained, was for exercise, and that if I drove a Chevy, I’d get all the exercise I could stand walking to the parts store.

I used to think it was funny to hear the old guys predicting the weather based on which joint hurt. Now I’ve acquired that skill.

It’s annoying to realize that for a week straight, everyone in the obituary column has been younger than I am.

Some time back, another fellow in the group was trying to figure out how to take a screen shot on his Windows phone, the same as mine. While he and the others discussed it, I Googled “screen shot,” got the directions and then tried it. Then I showed the others how to do it.

The youngest person in the group felt there was something wrong with this picture. He said, “Do you realize that the oldest guy here is showing us how to use our smartphones? I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work.”

And best for last: Just the other night my girlfriend and I (the one I’ve been married to for 47 years) were standing in the hallway at home. I paid her what I thought was a minor compliment. She hugged me, and I heard her voice crack with emotion as she said, “I love you.” Life is good.  FG