Hay Hauling – Smithwick Style

At 15 cents per bale, three young boys could make a fortune hauling hay or so we thought. Our Dad furnished the pickup, a 55 Chevy ¾ ton with a 4 speed and a 6 cylinder engine. But we had to pay for gas, which was cheap – $.30 per gal and flat repairs, which was a big unknown. We kept several spare tires around just in case. That’s what you did back in those days.

Kenny was the driver, the pusher, the big boss man of the bunch. That left big Jimmy Palmer and me to load the hay out in the fields. We, or rather the big boss man decided we could each make 3 cents for the work and he, Kenny would use the left over 6 cents to buy gas and fix flats. The two peon’s didn’t really get a vote. That was the way it was going to be.

Big boss man decided it would be fair if we could alternate jobs. For half the time Jimmy would be out throwing the hay up to me to stack. We would then alternate. The only one not alternating was Kenny. He found it necessary to always drive. Once again, that was the way it was going to be.

We could stack 45 bales on each load and depending on the distance we could make a trip per hour. If we stayed after it, Jimmy and I would make between $10 and $15 a day. We felt pretty good about that until we figured out Kenny was getting 3 times as much as each of us. Gas was only costing $6 or $8 per day. Even fixing flats didn’t cost but a dollar or so each.

The hotter we got out in the summer heat, the more taken advantage of Jimmy and I felt. When we felt like we couldn’t go another inch, I’d wait until we were close to a shade tree along the edge of the field or in our big field at the lake there was a nice shady pecan tree out in middle and at the right time I would stick my hay hook under a rear tire. When we could hear the air coming out one of us would holler “sounds like we are having another flat.” Kenny would pull over, get out a get to work changing the tire. We would sit in the shade and watch. He wouldn’t dare ask us to help for fear we would be entitled to part of the “extra” money.

Something tells me we all three ended up making about the same when everything was all tallied up. Funny how those things have a way of working out.

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