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Tales of a Hay Hauler: Tales old and new

Brad Nelson Published on 09 December 2009

Some of the tales I hear from the next generation are as interesting as things I had happen when I was hauling hay. About four years ago, the fellow who stole the heart of my oldest daughter spent the summer with us. He was attending college at the time, working on his MBA degree.

He spent a fair part of the summer throwing hay bales for my son, Daniel. After some culture shock issues, they got along fairly well. The son-in-law allowed as how he was out of his element, being just a skinny little city kid thrown in among this band of big, coarse hay haulers.

Mark told of being with Dan early one morning, weighing the truck at an all-night scale about two in the morning, en-route to a six o’clock a.m. unloading appointment on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass.

As they pulled off the scale, a fellow, obviously somewhat inebriated, ran to the truck and climbed up on the driver’s side by the door.
When Dan rolled down the window to see what the problem was, the fellow mumbled something about needing a ride back to Royal City, some 12 miles in the wrong direction. Mark quoted Dan as saying, “Get off of my truck or I’m going to deck you!” He left.

Mark commented that if he were going to be decked, he would hope it was not by Dan. He said he had seen Dan throw a hundred-pound hay bale a good ten feet, after which it rolled another ten feet.

He told of Dan parking the truck at a casino on one of the reservations in the state. He followed as Dan entered and walked right past the slot machines and gaming tables, back to the restaurant.

There they had a steak dinner for about half the price of similar fare anywhere else. Dan told him this was something he learned from his father, in Nevada.

The food at the casinos is a “loss leader” to get people into the places. Dan says they still get dirty looks from the staff as they enter and leave, without spending any money on the slots or gaming tables.

My other son who is also in the hay business told an interesting tale. He is now the official mechanic at a hay ranch in Marsing, Idaho. In the off-season, he does a lot of driving, delivering hay as needed.

On one trip, he had pulled the truck onto the road, and was up to about forty miles per hour when a pick-up started to pass his truck. Oncoming traffic interfered, and the pick-up drove off the road on the left side to avoid a collision. It then followed him the four or five miles to the dairy where Ryan was delivering the hay. A lively discussion followed.

When Ryan asked them why they thought he should wreck his hay truck because they were stupid, one of them started poking at him. About this time, Ryan sensed something behind him, and turned around to see the other fellow swinging a shovel handle towards the back of his knees.

He deflected the shovel handle with his foot as the first fellow punched him in the ribs. By now, he was a bit upset with the situation, and smacked the first fellow in the face with his fist; then turned around and grabbed the shovel handle that was coming at him again. He swung the shovel handle and the second fellow around him – so at least both of the assailants would be in front of him.

The second fellow lost his grip on the shovel handle and lost his footing at the same time, ending up on the ground beside his buddy, who was sitting and holding his nose making “Awooo—awooo—” sounds. Ryan then hit the trailer as hard as he could with the shovel handle, shattering it. He suggested to the two that it would be a good thing if they went home, now. They did.

A few days later, the same pick-up followed him into the same dairy. The father of one of the boys was driving, and stood back while the boys made a very appropriate apology to Ryan. Ryan must be lucky; Dan and I never crossed trails with anyone stupid enough to pick a fight with a hay hauler.  PD