Here’s a little true story from a couple of decades in the past that proves the point that in anyone’s life there comes a time when he/she must put crucial priorities in place.
This is a true story told to me by my good friend, ol’ C. Faren Wyde, about a fellow, ol’ Seda Light, that Faren employed as a hired man. It also happened that Seda wuz an immigrant who spoke English, but not fluently.
Well, Faren and his son were trying to bale alfalfa hay and finish combining a field of nice wheat before a forecasted summer thunderstorm hit in the evening. Seda wuz helping the son pick up small square alfalfa bales and stack them on hay racks. Faren wuz combining wheat several miles away. Faren’s wife wuz racing from field to field bringing drinks, hauling grain, and shuttling trailers.
By late afternoon, Faren realized that, despite their best efforts, the thunderstorm would overtake the work crew before the work wuz done. As he could see the rolling storm approaching, Faren decided to cut his losses and get everything inside that he could.
So, he stopped combining so he could drive the wheat truck to cover. He instructed his wife to pick up their son at the hay field and instruct Seda to hook the tractor to the loaded hay wagons and hurry them to the cover of a nearby barn.
Before the crew could gather and assess the situation, the storm hit with full fury. It wuz everyone for themselves. Well, the clouds swirled threateningly, the thunder roared, the lightning stuck, the winds huffed and puffed, and then the torrent poured down.
After riding out the storm, Faren headed to the hayfield to see how everyone wuz. Imagine his surprise when he found one of his wagons stacked with hay sitting smack dab in the middle of a gravel road near the hayfield. He could see nary hide nor hair of Seda or the tractor — just the wagonload of hay sitting all lonesome like blocking the road.
Unable to get around the hay wagon, Faren turned around and retraced his steps. As he drove by the closest farmstead, he spied Seda hurrying out of a neighbor’s barn driving Faren’s tractor.
When Seda arrived breathless and wide-eyed at Faren’s pickup, Faren queried him about abandoning the hay wagon in the storm.
Seda, unapologetically, replied, “I’m a’comin’ down the road wit the de hay and de lightnin’, tunder, wind and rain hit and I thought to myself, ‘Seda, dis ain’t your hay, but it is your life.’ So, I unhooked the wagon and drove like hell for de nearest cover.”
That story pretty well sums up how to put priorities into your life.
I neglected to tell the complete story last week about our trip to Kansas City to see the Royals play baseball. It wuz hot and muggy and we had to park more than a quarter-mile from the entrance to the stadium. By the time I hiked my fat belly across that much hot asphalt, I wuz cooking inside.
Well, Nevah and our friends the Penn Cilpushers were the first to get through the security gate by emptying their pocket and passing through the metal detector. When my turn came, I emptied my pockets into the plastic tray and down plunked my little treasured pocketknife — the same one that I once had to rescue from airplane security.
Quicker than two shakes of a lamb’s tail, the security lady plucked my treasured pocketknife up (I’ve carried it for nearly 15 years) and declared loudly, “You can’t take this knife into the stadium. You want me to throw it in the trash or you want to take it back to your vehicle?”
It’s unusual for me, but my first reaction was instant anger. “You can’t be serious,” I said.
“I’m serious as a heartbeat,” the serious lady replied.
“Well, give my knife back to me and I’ll get out of line and decide what to do,” I replied. I left the line and went and sat down on a hunk of limestone to figger my next move.
I guess the lady could tell I wuz pretty hot under the collar because she pointed me out to a nice, polite young uniformed security guard who came out and sat down next to me. “I understand why you’re mad, buddy,” he said quietly. “But, don’t try to hide your knife and pick it up after the game. If I see you do it, I’m obliged to confiscate it. Now, if you want to take it back to your vehicle, I’ll call for a security cart to take you out there and back.”
Reluctantly, I agreed to the free ride. But the guy with the free ride clearly wuzn’t happy about providing courtesy to me because the instant I got off his cart to put my pocketknife back into the car, he drove off and left me standing on the hot asphalt to walk back to the stadium.
I wuz hot under the collar in two ways by the time I got into the stadium and found my seat. As I cooled off, I thought to myself, “I wonder how many fans have been injured or killed by a maniac with a little pocketknife?”
But, I guess I learned a hard lesson. One, either not go back ever to a Royals baseball game or, two, be smart enuf to leave my treasured pocketknife out of my pocket.
Since I mentioned a knife, I guess it’s appropriate to end this week with some wife words about knives. Hattie McDaniel said, “When I was little, my mother taught me how to use a fork and knife. The trouble is that Mother forget to teach me how to stop using them!“ And, David Quammen said, “You can’t take a knife on a plane anymore, but you can get on carrying a virus.” Think about that! Have a good ‘un.