Marlene called me at work yesterday. She does that every so often and it’s always so nice to hear her voice. It is like a ray of sunshine beaming into the dark world of my industrial job.
Marlene told me it was a busy morning. She and James were working on making his quick breads and cookies for the farm market later in the day. In addition to that, one farmer called early in the morning to see if Robert could help pick stone.
Then another farmer called shortly thereafter to say he could use Robert at 1:00 to help with hay. It was the same farmer who let James hang out and help with hay yesterday, but not for pay. The farmer told Marlene that James was such a good worker yesterday that he would pay him today. As you might imagine, that news brought a big smile to my face. it was another ray of sunshine.
Robert picked stone in the morning and helped with hay in the afternoon. But, unfortunately, James couldn’t be two places at once and the farm market trumps hay. But the farmer said he would remember James next time he needed help, and James was thrilled to hear that.
Then Marlene said, “James wants to talk to you.” My son, another voice from home, another bright ray, came on the line and asked me if I would buy him a pair of hay hooks.
How many 11-year-old boys ask their dad to buy them hay hooks so they can use them to do hard, manly work? Maybe some new designer clothing or another computer game, but not hay hooks.
Well, I long ago outlawed computer games in this household and we don’t buy expensive designer clothing. But I’ll buy my son a pair of hay hooks. No question about it.
Last year, when Robert started helping with hay, he used his bare hands to grab the strings on the bales. I told him I would buy him some hooks and that is what I did. I stamped Robert’s initials on the handles and colored them in with a marker. Believe it or not, he slept with his hooks beside the bed when I first gave them to him. Now they have some wear but he has taken good care of them.
So now James wanted his own hooks, just like his big brother and, right after work, I headed directly to Barski Brother’s Feed. I plunked down a twenty dollar bill for two new Osborne hooks with hardwood handles. When I got home I stamped James’s initials on the handles just as I did on Robert’s.
If properly cared for, my son’s will have these hay hooks for the rest of their lives. In time, with enough use, the wood handles will loosen . If they get too loose, they can be removed and steel handles can be welded on. That’s what many farmer’s do when the handles finally go. They do that because a man can get real sentimental about his hay hooks.
I hope my boys will grow up looking back with a sentimental regard for their hay hooks—the hooks their father gave them when they were young boys. That thought is like another ray of sunshine in my life.
Today I came home from work and both Robert and James were not here. They were both helping the farmer with his hay. They arrived home a short while later (the farmer drives them home). They came in the door dirty and tired but feeling good about themselves. That’s what working in the hay will do for you. After talking with them about their experience, I exclaimed, “I need to get a picture of you guys!” James replied, “Oh no, Dad’s gonna blog about this.”
Yep, I sure am.
The pictures on today’s blog entry are of my tired farm boys with their hay hooks, which they put to good use today.