By Gene Henry
During the summer months when school was out and after the crops were layed by lots of the young boys in the community would work for Fred Chapman in the hay fields. We put in ten hours a day for 30 cents an hour or $3.00 a day. Warren Jones would pay us $18.00 every Saturday afternoon for the week's work. Guyman, Jerry and I would give dad half of what we made to take care of the food and staple things needed at home. That left us with enough to go to Madill on Saturday night and eat a hamburger and see the late previews. We also bought our clothes for the next school term.
One Saturday evening Mr. Wilcox, Dean Wagoner, Curtis May and I believe Toy Rigney were bailing hay. We were using a pickup bailer with a trailer hooked to the back of the bailer. I drove the tractor, Curtis fed the bailer with a 7 foot pole from a tree branch, Dean Waggoner punched wires and blocked the bales while Mr. Wilcox tied the bailing wires. Toy would take the bale of hay when the bailer discharged it and stacked it on the trailer in 25 bale stacks and then dumped them. This was done so it wouldn't be hard for the hay haulers to pickup and load the trucks.
Well to get on with the story, it was around 4:00 O'clock and Curtis and I were talking while we had stopped to get a drink. It took almost an hour to make a round of the hay field. Curtis and I wanted to get off a little early because we were going to town. It was made up that if it looked like that we would get back a little before quiten' time that Curtis would "accidentally" stick the pole in the bailer and it would chop it up and Mr. Wilcox would have to go cut another pole and by the time he had done all that, it would be time to quit. The only difference from the plan was Mr. Wilcox was just a little bit wiser than we expected. We stopped and he fashioned the pole and then when we got back to the starting area, what do you think happened? We went another round. So, instead of getting off early, we got off later. Word to the wise, don't try to pull the wool over the boss"s eyes.
One summer when I was 17, I went to work one morning and Boss Easterwood came over to me and told me that I was going to work with Dean Wagoner plowing the hay fields. He had two RD12 Caterpillars. They had 2 ten-disc one-ways hitched to each Cat. We were plowing the hay fields just north of the Washita river bridge. One morning as Dean and I were servicing the Cats and one-ways, we had backed them together because one of the Cats was hard to start and we used the other one to push it to get it started. Well just about the time we had got all the equipment greased and serviced, up drove Mr. Chapman. He pulled up to where we were and stated, "What are you trying to do, breed them?" in a stern voice. Of course I didn't know how to take it and thought he was mad at us because we hadn't started to plowing. Dean talked to him and later told me he wasn't mad. After a few days when we finished plowing this field, after learning how to service the Caterpillar, I was sent to other fields by myself with the Cat plowing the hay fields.