Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hauling Hay

I had a number of jobs in my life that were physically taxing.  When I first started teaching, I joined my brother-in-law in his hay hauling business to supplement my income during the summer.  The location was in central Texas, and it was hot.  I quit teaching and hay hauling after my first year.  As I sit in south Texas this summer, I try and think of times when I was much hotter, and working much harder.  It makes the heat, humidity, and the occasional doldrums of retirement, very tolerable.  I wrote this poem using my recollections of that hot and sweaty summer long ago.  Perhaps you can relate.

Hauling Hay

I was a teacher
my salary was meager
I spent the summers
hauling hay.

The Texas sun
was searing at dawn
when I rose to see
if my hay truck
would start.

I climbed in the cab.
looked at the ground.
The truck had no floorboard
just blue smoke and sound.

The hay fields were strewn.
Square bales of alfalfa.
Heavy to lift,
tough to inhale.

We stacked them high
on the flatbed behind us.
One hundred and twenty
at twelve cents a bale.

We made for the barn.
A loft with no air flow.
Sweating and stacking
and swatting the wasps.

The scene was repeated
as long as the sun shone.
Then we, and the truck

coughed our way home.

Dennis Price


  1. Bucking hay ... even all these years later I can not wax nostalgic about it. Three cents a bale .... hot, humid Missouri days. Chiggers, copper heads ... did I mention chiggers?

  2. Thanks Buff, I think the list of unpleasant things that go along with the hard work and sweat might be a long one. Twelve cents a bale was the price for loading, hauling, and unloading. My share was considerably less since I was just a hand.


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