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Tales of a Hay Hauler: Some things are just worth it

Brad Nelson Published on 01 March 2013

“... after which, I turned around and saved everyone time and trouble by walking straight to the principal’s office all by myself.”

These are the words spoken by the teller of the story as remembered by the listener to the story. What happened was a young man in high school had just cold-cocked another student when he heard him telling a group that his sister was “a harlot.” (Look it up in the Bible dictionary.)

He went on to say that he was in a lot of trouble at school, which had a strict “no fighting” policy. “But I wasn’t fighting.

He needed to be knocked on his can, so I did it,” he told the principal. He still was suspended from school for a short while, and was in trouble at home for as long as his father could hold a straight face. “It was worth it” was the way he summed it up.

A custom haying operator told me of the two times his mouth almost got him killed. He told a Marine Corps drill sergeant at boot camp, when ordered to drop and do push-ups, “I can do push-ups longer than you can stand there and watch!”

He went on to say that in about 10 minutes, the drill sergeant told him to “Get up and get out of here!” He did not question this directive and was able to get up, with no visible difficulty, and left.

He said he was to the point of collapse when the drill sergeant got tired of watching, “but it was worth it.”

The other time was when he told a bartender that he could drink whiskey faster than the bartender could pour it. “That,” he stated with emphasis, “Was not a good idea.”

Two generations later, at the same school as the first happening above, one fellow was having serious words with another.

The smaller fellow had been pushed down and was pushed backwards and down again repeatedly as he tried to get back on his feet.

A witness said that this scene of mayhem was interrupted when “a flash of yellow hair was seen moving from about 20 feet away, and the aggressor was tackled.” About this time one of the teachers arrived on the scene.

All three boys were suspended for three days. The father of the owner of the “yellow hair” said that it was with great difficulty that he tried to explain to his son that there may have been a better way to deal with the situation.

A short time later, the same aggressor was picking on a student who stuttered. He had one fist around the collar of his sweatshirt and was poking him in the chest with the other, berating him for his speech impediment.

The same person who had tackled him earlier observed that his victim was turning blue before he decked him. Since there was a noticeable red mark around the neck of the victim, and witnesses who reliably told the same story, the aggressor was the only one suspended this time.

As the boy’s father told me the story, he said that he was grateful his son was involved in the way he was: defending someone being bullied.

He was hoping that his son realized that any form of violence should always be the last resort, and that his son did not gain the reputation of a fighter or troublemaker.

“Dad, I tried talking to him,” the son was quoted, “but when I saw that kid turning blue, the time to talk was over. I didn’t know what else to do. If I’m in trouble, I guess it was worth it.”

Years back, a fellow told of a happening in California. While on his way to deliver his load of freight, his old truck got to running so rough that he decided to leave the trailer, take the truck to the Cummins engine store and have the overhead run before he ruined something in the engine.

“Running the overhead” consisted of adjusting the intake and exhaust valves, setting the fuel injectors, which were then operated via pushrods from the camshaft, and adjusting the “Jake” brake.

The Jake brake opened the exhaust valves at the top of the compression stroke, turning loose the compressed air, which turned the engine into a giant air compressor.

It is the release of this compressed air that gives the classic cackle to trucks as they descend a grade using the Jake engine brake.

As the engines wore, running the overhead became a regular maintenance item, depending on the engine and skill of the mechanic, somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 miles.

There was a wide, flat spot near the top of one of the hills on the old two-lane highway, and here he parked his trailer as far from the road as he could.

When he returned a few hours later with a truck that now ran like new, he found his trailer surrounded by “more law and order than you could shake a stick at.”

It seems that a drunk driver had hit the back of his trailer at a high rate of speed, killing himself and making the trailer no longer roadworthy at the same time.

Many months later, the family of the deceased was suing the owners of the trailer. The driver telling the story said that the first witness called was the officer who investigated the accident scene.

“Now, officer, would you explain to the court how far from the traveled portion of the highway the trailer which the deceased struck was parked?” drawled the attorney for the plaintiff. The officer looked at his notes and answered, “237 feet and eight inches.”

The judge looked at the officer and asked, “Did you just say that the trailer the deceased hit was parked 237 feet and eight inches from the traveled portion of the highway?” “Yes, your honor,” he answered.

The judge, to his credit, raised his gavel and slammed it down with such force that it surprised all present it did not shatter, and said,

“Case dismissed. The plaintiff (the party who was suing the trucking company) will pay the legal costs incurred by the defendants (the trucking company).

” The driver telling the story said that even through the months of hassle prior to the court date, to hear the judge throw the case out of court made it all worth it.

A fellow noticed his neighbor spending a long afternoon working with his son repairing a bicycle. It required some new spokes in the wheels, and then quite a bit of time to adjust the spokes so the wheels did not wobble.

The old coaster brake needed to be taken completely apart, cleaned, lubricated and re-assembled. New tires were installed, and finally the son took it on a test ride.

The fellow watching approached his neighbor as the boy disappeared around the block.

“Jim,” he said, “With the money you make, you could have bought three new bikes for that boy with the time it took you to fix that old one.”

Jim looked at his neighbor and said, “You don’t understand. I wasn’t fixing a bike. I was training a boy. That makes the time spent well worth it.” FG

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