Hauling Hay Back In the Day


Garrett stood in the warmth of the setting fall sun, his ample belly shading the old school rodeo buckle he had earned on the circuit many pounds ago.

“I’m concerned about today’s youth and for one reason only,” he said. “You caint hardly find no boys to haul hay anymore.”

“I hauled my share growing up out in the country,” I said. “Before I got all urbanized.”

“It was a rite of passage when I was a kid,” he said through a drawl so pronounced the word “riiiiiiite” stretched out like a sail cat run over by a duelly. “You know you were a man when people had faith in you to hoist bales all day and still get in trouble at night,” he said.

Old school, pick-up-a-bale-and-throw-it-to-a-guy-in-a-truck hay hauling is a subject not many young people – even out in rural areas – know much about anymore.

“There is machinery for that,” said a 15 year-old boy near Eufaula, Alabama.

“Now they go to a gym,” said Dwayne, a lean man wearing a cowboy hat and a 40-year suntan. “And pay good money for it too. We used to get our workout following that hay truck. You do that for a year and you’ll look like one of them linebackers at Alabama.

After traveling across five Southern states in one week, asking about hauling hay everywhere I went, I finally found a young person who hauled hay like we used to back in the 1970’s. Her name was Samantha.

“Yeah,” she said matter-of-factly, “I haul hay. Follow my daddy and brother in a truck. We got 200 acres.”

She pulled up her sleeve, smiled and curled her arm up like Mr. Universe, revealing a coffee can-sized bicep muscle.

‘Welcome to the gun show,” she giggled.

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