Friday I was driving to my parents’ home when I noticed a younger lady (many ladies are younger than me these days!) carrying four bulging bags of groceries as she made her way over and between the clumps of snow and ice on the not-recently shoveled sideway leading away from the local grocery store. As I asked myself if I should offer her a ride, I saw her set the bags down and attempt to readjust them so that they did not pull so tightly on her wrists and shoulders.
Her action was my answer so I offered her a ride, which she graciously accepted. She lived about a half mile out of my way, one mile round trip. The whole event cost me 5 minutes and about $0.15 (gas @ $2.99/gallon in a van that gets about 20 miles/gallon). I did not think much about it…………until I pondered the next series of events.
I was on my way to my parents’ home because I needed Dad’s pick-up to haul hay. The supply I bought this summer is disappearing more rapidly than I anticipated; at the current rate of usage it will be gone by mid-February. At the current rate of snowfall the pastures will still be covered until mid-April. This is a problem for my cellulose-craving sheep; it seems unlikely that they will be happy (or healthy) if I make them go without food for two months. I needed more hay, about 18 bales more. As I no longer have a truck (….oh Peter! I miss you!!), I asked Dad if I could borrow his. He graciously agreed not only to loan me his truck but to help me haul hay as well.
So far, so good.
Dad decided that it would be easier to borrow the neighbor’s trailer than take the canopy off his truck (a decision he later questioned….). When I arrived at my parents’ home (after my 5 minute/$0.15 detour) Dad led me to the truck, which was stuck in the neighbor’s driveway.
I need to clarify something before proceeding with this story. I appreciate my Father’s truck. It has taken me on numerous Women’s and Children’s camping adventures, hauled countless bales of hay for me, and recently carried 28 Ogden Preparatory Academy students’ backpacks to the Grand Canyon and back. I really do appreciate the truck BUT (you knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you?) it is a wimpy truck. It gets stuck just facing a puddle—entering the water and/or mud is not necessary—approaching it is all it takes. Green grass, damp dirt, a slight slope—I have seen all of these conditions hopeless mire Dad’s truck.
Back to the story…..
Pulling a trailer on a snow covered driveway was too much for the truck and it was, predictably, stuck. After a couple futile attempts to push the truck out, we unhooked the trailer and tried again to free the vehicle. Ten minutes of shovel work, salt placement, and back-and-forth pushing yielded results; the truck could move but the trailer could not.
Another neighbor (not the owner of the trailer) noticed our predicament, hooked his double axelled, four wheel drive truck to the trailer and pulled it onto the road for us. We re-attached the trailer to Dad’s truck and were off to the next aspect of our adventure.
The barn that houses the hay that I wanted to purchase sits at the end of a 100 meter driveway. Dad pulled in the driveway and circled so that he could back the trailer into the barn. The circle he drove took the truck into a ditch that was concealed by a snow bank. Stuck. Again. Slick snow, deep ditch, timid truck…..there was no way we were getting out of this one without help.
The hay farmer and his foreman (and his tractor) came to the rescue. The tractor hadn’t been started all winter so it took some time, effort and a couple sprays from a propellant-powered can of some sort to get it going. Finally fired up and then hooked up, the tractor needed three tries to get the truck out of the ditch.
When the truck was once again free, we loaded the hay without drama and began the drive to my home (8 miles away) where we planned to stack the hay under the rainfly in my holey hay shed.
Two blocks from my house a bearing on the trailer came apart. It was the bearing that holds the axle together so a wheel and half an axle went wildly east, a chain link fence the only thing keeping it from careening onto the train tracks. The backing plate (the metal dish that supports the brake drums) carved a 30 meter long, 2 cm deep grove in the road before we stopped. And we were stopped. Again.
Two blocks is not much when one is walking or even running but two blocks is a long way to haul 18 seventy-five pound hay bales. Neighbors to the rescue. Again.
I walked to Brixey’s (our north next door neighbors) and asked to borrow their truck. While Dad and I were transferring hay from the trailer to the Brixey’s truck, an unknown (and as yet unidentified) man pulled up behind us, got out, and, joining us in our hay-transferring efforts, said, “I work at the machining shop just down the street [three blocks south] and I have a fork lift I could use to help you get this trailer off the street until you can get it repaired.”
Dad, Mr. Machinist, and I finished transferring the hay. I drove the Brixey’s truck to my holey hay shed and stacked the hay under the rainfly. In the meantime, Mr. Machinist and Dad used the forklift to transport the crippled trailer to the machining shop parking lot where it would stay until Dad could go home, get the canopy off the truck (yes, there is a HUGE irony is this), and return at which point Mr. Machinist would again use the forklift to put the trailer into the back of the truck and Dad would haul it to a repair shop.
As of this morning, all is in its proper place. The trailer is in the shop, the hay is in the barn, and Dad’s truck, canopy in place, is in his garage. And there is a beautiful green leather couch in my living room.
Saint Sallie (my sweet sister-in-law) learned that I wanted a new-to-me couch to replace the 4th generation (started with cousin Jennilyn, transferred to sister-in-law Jill, moved to Parents Hislop, and finally ended up with me) red/green/gold/navy striped couch that currently lives in my living room. There is nothing wrong with our couch, it’s just that when people sit in in, they sink so deep a forklift is needed to get them out….and at $22/hour (see below) forklifts are expensive. So a new-to-me couch would be nice. Sallie is nice so she has been scouring ksl.com’s classifieds to find a couch for me.
On this same fortuitous Friday morning Sallie found a free green leather couch available in Sunset. The owner told Sallie that two other people had called wanting it and the first one there could have it. Without hesitation, not even taking time to call me, Sallie removed the seats from her van and drove quickly to Sunset. She won the couch race, loaded the maxi couch into her mini van, drove to my house and delivered it just as I finished stacking the hay in the holey shed. Dad and I carried the couch into the living room and there it sits.
Curious, I decided to do a little figuring….
Cost of renting a 5 x 8 box trailer to haul hay, 4 hr minimum $30
Cost of tow to pull trailer onto street
$45 hookup fee plus $3/mile $48
Labor cost of neighbor who pulled trailer to street
Contractor, $50/hour for 15 minutes $13
Cost of renting a 4WD tractor, 1 hr minimum $45
Labor cost of farm foreman $16/hour for 30 minutes $ 8
Labor cost of hay farmer not calculated because sometimes farmers end up paying for the
opportunity to farm
Cost of renting a truck to haul hay for 2 blocks, 75 minute minimum $20
Cost to rent forklift $22/hour, 1 hour minimum $22
Labor cost of machinist $22/hour for 30 minutes $11
Labor and truck rental cost for Dad’s services not calculated for fear I would feel obligated to
pay him if I knew...
Moving van to haul couch, $20/day one day minimum $20
Green leather couch, eBay $100 $100
Cost of labor for Sallie’s service also not calculated because she is priceless.
[Estimates based on current online price listings from Diamond Rental, Ogden; Great Harvest Bread, Clinton; Home Depot, Ogden; Google searches, and eBay]
“Cast your bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days” has a new meaning for me. I am not the financial genius of the family but it seems that $315 is not a bad return for a $0.15 investment…. I think I got the best end of the deal and it did not even take “many days” for it to come back to me.
Melvin J. Ballard said it another way: “A person cannot give a crust to the Lord without receiving a loaf in return. “ I testify it is not quite true. Friday I have gave a couple crusts worth of service (Great Harvest Bread slices average $.30/slice so $.15 is a reasonable cost for a crust or two) and I got 63 loaves worth of service (most Great Harvest breads are $5/loaf; $315/5 = 63). It is not true because the return on investment was much greater than one crust to one loaf. Seriously.
So, cast your bread upon the waters……and see what comes back to you. It probably will not be soggy bread. It may not be a forklift or a green couch either but it is bound to be good.
P.S. BREAKING NEWS: Chick placed sixth place in the rigorous 18 team Richardson Memorial Wrestling tournament this weekend. He sucked weight to drop to 160 lbs, was ranked 17th going into the tournament, made the kid who ended up placing first work hard to defeat him, knocked the 4th ranked kid out of the tournament, won three matches to get into the medals rounds, and walked away with a sixth place medal. He was on the top of his wrestling game and now, with his first Varsity medal in hand, he is on top of the world as well.