Last week, I recalled the good times we had hauling hay for many of the Mize family. There were many others that we hauled hay for, as well. Let me get right to it.
The Davis Brothers
Without out a doubt, one of our favorite places to haul hay was in the suburbs of Cerulean. I am speaking of Sonny and Jackie Davis and their farm. There were several things that made working for Sonny and Jackie special. First, they normally had their stuff together. One of the worst things a hay crew can experience, especially with a crew full of busy adults, is to show up to work on time and have to wait for hours because the hay is not bailed yet. Sonny and Jackie generally had their act together. It was always a pleasure to work for them.
Plus, the knowledge and wisdom we gained from the Davis brothers was invaluable, especially Sonny. Every work day there ended with Sonny and our crew gathered around a black iron table on his driveway, discussing a wide variety of topics. Sonny was always quick to tell a coach when he needed to have a good year before the wolves got him. By wolves, I mean critics and parents. You know what? He was about always right. The man must have had a sixth sense for that sort of thing. You also never knew who might end up driving or showing up at the Davis’s, either. Folks such as the insightful Dale Henderson were apt to make an appearance.
I Speak A No English
More than once, our crew would arrive at the water hose at the Davis’s barn at the same time as their Mexican migrant workers. I will never forget one verbal exchange at the water hose. One of our crew, not to be mentioned here, tried to introduce himself to one of the Mexicans. He kept telling the Mexican his name and occupation. The Mexican man kept repeating over and over that he did not understand English. In order to help him understand better, our guy kept getting louder and louder as if the louder he spoke English, the better the Mexican would understand it. Finally, Jackie Davis intervened and correctly said, “Hey, the man does not understand English, but that does not mean that he is deaf!”
Dixie Jones’s Special Drink
Let’s face it – Dixie Jones is not a complicated man. Now, that is not an insult. As a matter of fact, he is one of the best men I have ever met in my life, and I have the utmost respect for him. Here is what I mean by that complicated remark.
You see, Dixie liked to have a mixed drink sometimes when we were hauling hay. No, not that kind of mixed drink. Dixie would go into a country store and buy a 12-ounce Dr. Pepper and a half gallon of orange juice. Dixie’s thinking was as follows. He really liked Dr. Pepper and orange juice, so why wouldn’t the two be good mixed together? First, he would turn the juice up and drink about 12 ounces straight out of the jug. Then he would pour the Dr. Pepper into the orange juice jug. After that, he would shake the jug vigorously until the it contained a murky looking mixture. For the farmers that came into the store and missed the mixing of the ingredients, it looked to them as if he was drinking pond water. Of course, we just made matters worse by insisting to them that Dixie was truly filling his jug from the pond. All I can say is, don’t knock the Dixie Jones Dr. Orange Juice Pepper drink until you have tried it.
The Kyler Farm
How could you ever work for anyone kinder than Mr. David Kyler? Our crew spent quite a bit of time on his farm hauling hay. I will never forget the time I took a fellow coach – not one of the ones mentioned above – and a standout football player to the Kyler farm to help me. All of the regular crew was busy. There were 1,001 bales in the field, and the temperature was 101 degrees. I will never forget those numbers. Now, the unmentioned coach helping me that day was a really good man. He had just never hauled hay before. After 200 bales he said, “I am out of here.” I said, “Coach, you can’t leave me with this hay in the field.” I finally convinced him to stay. After 400 bales were in the barn, the coach said, “This time, I am really out of here.” Since I had driven us to the field, he had to drive my car home. He asked if my keys were in the car and headed that way. I looked at the football player in bewilderment. Then, to my shock, the muscular football player yelled at the departing coach and said, “Hey coach, wait for me!” The coach I am speaking of here later told me that he went home, got on his knees and thanked God that he was a school teacher.
Back to the field, if I may. At that point, I was by myself with 600 bales still in the field. Mr. Ray Kyler then drove into town and brought back Charlie and Scott Mayes, and we finished the job without incident. Thank goodness for the Mayes family. It was going to be a long hot afternoon hauling those last 600 bales by myself.
The tales that I could tell from the experiences of the Coaches Hay Crew are pretty much endless. I haven’t even mentioned working for Joe Cravey, Spider McCloud, Buck Rowan, Watt Goodwin, Cordell Newton and many others. I guess some things are better saved for the book.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the former head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.