Ah, Those Meals in the Hayfield

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comOne of my first jobs was hauling hay.

I started when I was 12 or 13 helping my uncle by driving the tractor that pulled the hay wagon. 

At least I think I helped. In the early days, I probably hindered more than anything.

I would do my best to try and serpentine the wagon through the field as two bigger boys on the ground walked alongside and threw the rectangular bales to someone on the wagon who stacked them.

As I grew older, I became one of those bigger boys. And before I hung up my gloves for the last time, I had spent quite a few grueling and offensively hot, dusty days in the hay field.

Every work day started with a trip to the store.

The store we would visit depended on where we were working that day. But, they were all the same. Each one had a wooden screen door with a spring attached to it which made the noise a spring makes as it slammed behind us as we entered. Rows of wooden shelves sat on a dark gray concrete floor.

The old man at the cash register wore overalls while always consuming a tobacco product in one form or another.

Our purchase consisted of a honeybun, a can of Beanie Weenies and a couple of cans of Sun Drop sodas apiece.

In case you’re one of the uncultured, Sun Drop is a citrus soda which was the most popular soft drink where I grew up. I can only assume it still is. Many would argue Sun Drop was right behind Baptist as being the most popular religious denomination, as well.

The honeybun was breakfast. The Beanie Weenies were lunch.

It was all delectable.

Of course, now I look back and wonder how we could work until noon without a molecule of protein. I guess it’s because we didn’t know we needed any.

It also had something to do with the fact that anyone on the crew who complained about being hungry, or anything else, earned himself the job of climbing into the sweltering barn loft to catch the bales as they were tossed up. It was the worst part of the job.

I had originally planned to write about how we could eat good-tasting food back then guilt-free because we led an active lifestyle where we — I suppose — burned up all the bad stuff.

I apologize to all you dietitians out there for that one, but you know what I mean.

I will admit, I would give almost anything to be able to spend a day noshing on honeybuns, Beanie Weenies, Sun Drops and whatever else I wanted without a particle of guilt.

Come on over, Froot Loops, hotdogs on white bread, chocolate milk and any food containing the word chip.

Let’s party.

I know I’m remembering it more fondly than it really was. Maybe it wasn’t the food. Maybe it was the newfound experience of making a couple of dollars combined with the independence of being able to eat whatever we wanted. Making choices like that was a new concept for us back in those days.

Nah, it was the food. I’m dying for a can of Beanie Weenies right now, but I’m certainly not wanting to climb into a barn loft.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him: currin01@gmail.com

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