|If you look closely...|
Recently we would have celebrated Daddy's 91st birthday.
What else could I do but tell a story about him . . .
It was haying season.
In my day, that meant teams of two, one driving the tractor, one stooking.
In Dad’s day, it involved numerous men, horses, and hours and hours of back-breaking work.
This story is about Dad’s day.
The horse-pulled mower had been over the hayfield, cutting the long grasses.
They had been allowed to dry where they lay.
Another horse-powered machine, a rake, had been pulled over the area to turn and fluff and gather the still-drying grasses.
I should mention here that grasses have to be totally dried before they can be gathered and stored. Wet grass heaped into a pile will rot and stink and generally be disparaged by discerning cows.
Think of kids and broccoli.
Yeah. Like that.
But I digress . . .
Teams of men and horses were gathering the well-dried grasses, heaping them into wagons and hauling them to the main stack, where the hay sling (exactly what it sounds like) would be manoeuvred into position, pick up the hay, and swing it atop the big stack.
It was heavy, exacting work. The hay had to be stacked just right so it would stay in place and cure properly.
Dad’s brother, Bryce, had been the man atop the stack, directing the big sling.
He had other duties, so turned over the pivotal job to his baby brother.
For the first three minutes, all went well.
Then the hay sling brought up a load.
And the long pole smacked him right in the mouth. Knocking his heretofore (Ooh! Good word!) buck teeth backwards into his mouth.
Don’t you hate it when that happens?
I’m sure there was pain and a lot of blood.
I know there was an attempt to press said teeth back into a proper position. An even better position than before. With partial results. Three tooth 'took'. Straight and perfect. The fourth didn't.
Finally, Dad was hauled to the family dentist and a new tooth, on an intricate framework, was installed.
As good as the old one. Almost.
At least it looked right.
From that day forward, Dad had a conversation starter.
He would hide his tooth and grin his gap-toothed smile.
Or hang it out over a lip.
Okay, well, we kids thought it was hilarious.
And isn’t that what being a dad is all about?
Happy Birthday, Daddy! We miss you!
|Slinging. See the guy on top?|
Brings a whole new meaning to 'Watch your mouth'.