Passing through Wellington today – south of Amarillo in the Texas panhandle – I was reminding of my first trip to this rural west Texas town. I was with my dad as he drove a huge semi-truck with a refrigerated trailer to pick up a load of alfalfa hay for our horses. His good friend Fred Woodcock was with us that day, thank goodness.
I was maybe 14 years old at the time, and had plenty of experience hauling hay. I knew from prior hay-hauling experience that alfalfa bales were about twice as heavy as prairie hay bales. What I didn’t realize is that to haul hay in a refrigerated semi-trailer, you had to carry the bails of hay from the back of the trailer all the way to the front. Over and over. In 106 degree heat in west Texas. With no breeze inside the trailer.
Holy cow, that was one hot day of work. We left before daylight, got to Wellington mid-morning, and loaded hay as the sun got higher and higher in the clear Texas skies. The three of us loaded several hundred bales all the way from the back entrance of the trailer, carrying them 40’ to the front, over and over, as sweat dripped off our nose and sun-spots drifted in front of my eyes. Just another typical day of working for my dad, with nearly 60-year old 5’5” Fred Woodcock hauling bales that weighed nearly as much as him. I think some of the bales weighed MORE than I did.
Today I am 62-years old, sitting in an air-conditioned cafe in the Wellington town square, reminiscing about my first trip here with my dad and Fred, wishing I could sit and talk to both for them again.