Friday, June 28, 2019
Bringing in the Hay
Bringing in the hay always used to be a fun time. Old style balers, old style oblong bales, stacked in nines and as many hands as possible to get it on the trailer and back to the shed. Old style balers are not so common these days but Clint has one. The field, the one in front of the country housing estate used to belong to Johnny, Bert's father and Bert said that when he and Johnny went to bring in the hay at least ten or more youngsters from the estate would appear just for the fun of the thing to help and to get a ride on the trailer. Nowadays that field belongs to Clint and the young ones aren't interested in riding on trailers and bringing in the hay. The only helpers Clint could get tonight were over sixty.
Bert knew it was coming up. He warned Clint.
I don't know that I'll be much help to you. My knees are murdering me.
Huh! We'll be some crew. Murray's got a bad heart, I can't get a breath and you can hardly walk.
The call came and it was the loveliest evening. Balmy, a slight breeze, a promise of rain to come. I was tempted to join them. Decades since I helped to bring in hay but I remembered it as being enjoyable.
Are you sure? You might hurt your back...
I decided against it.
Then Banjo Man turned up. Needing to speak to Bert about getting the shed delivered. We drove down to the hay field. I tried a bale. Not too heavy. We gathered a few, Banjo Man and I. He was worried he might break a nail on his picking finger but he didn't. Shed talk over we dismissed him. He had been working hard in Dublin all week while the rest of us (not Clint) were lazing in the sun. I stayed. Murray and I soon realised at 65 and 73 respectively that working together we achieved more than struggling to lift heavy bales on our own.
It was so satisfying and all finished well before nine o'clock. A field of bales gathered and loaded. There was a time when I'd have expected a lot more of a Friday night than an hour or two of hard physical work. But... when a body is 65 or older the pure joy of it is still being able to do it.