Harry Shively (Louise’s father) and Bill Stauder had made arrangements to get a load of, freshly cut, alfalfa hay from a farmer whose hay field was located along side a railroad track near Noah’s Lake, east of Three Rivers. The nearest access to the hay field was from a road crossing about a half mile east of the field, then along the railroad right-of-way, to a gate that allowed entrance to the field.
In as much as I was a suitor of Harry’s daughter, Louise, I was asked to go along to help load the hay. You can imagine that, under the circumstances, the invitation might have been interpreted more as a command than as an invitation. In any event I went along, thinking that they would probably want me to pitch the hay, from the ground, up to one or the other of the two senior members of the enterprise. They would then properly arrange it on the hay rack so that it could endure the trip along the rough terrain of the railroad right-of-way.
I later discovered that the above was not to be my role in the project. It was when we first got ready to start loading the loose hay onto the hay rack that I discovered that I was to be the one who would properly arrange the hay for transportation. If I remember correctly, the reasoning by the purchaser of the hay (Harry Shively), and the owner of the team of horses and the wagon (Bill Stauder) was that, in as much as I had worked for several of the bigger farmers in the area I surely must know how to load the hay so that it would stay on the wagon and the load would not tip over. What they did not know was that I had never performed that stunt, but I was too bull headed to let them know that there might be something that I didn’t know.
The two of them started to pitch the hay up to me, and I proceeded to arrange it in a pattern that I thought looked like the way that I remembered my Dad having done the same thing. The temperature and humidity, at the time of this event, must have been at least as high as it is today, because between the two, six foot, 200 pound farmers pitching the hay and my inexperience, at loading it, caused me to feel pretty much the same as I do right now.
By the time those two characters got tired of throwing hay at me, we had a load so big and so high that I couldn’t get down off the load and they couldn’t get up on to it. As a result it was up to me to maneuver that, top heavy, load, back out to the road, over that rough railroad right-of-way.
When I look back on it now, I remember that neither Bill nor Harry wanted to ride with me on the load. They didn’t have anymore confidence in my abilities than I did. Believe it or not, all of that hay stayed on the rack and the wagon stayed right side up, all of the four miles home.
This story has nothing to do with copying slides and prints, making home brew, firing a steam boiler or planting Christmas trees, in fact, it has little to do with anything of consequence, for anyone other than me. It is 3:30 in the afternoon of June 30, 1993, and I have just entered our air conditioned home after having mowed the lawn, in what the thermometer says is eighty plus degrees temperature. That’s what the thermometer says, but it doesn’t say that the humidity is about the same. This temperature and humidity has reminded me of an event that took place a couple of years before Louise and I were married.