It’s the 18th of June and when you have a barn full of horses you’re either almost out of hay or have tons left over from last year. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between option. I talked to our hay-man ten days ago and he said if the weather cooperates he could have some soon. (“Soon” is hay-man lingo for “heaven knows when”.)

Our farm is in the “almost out…” category. Our hay-man supplies us and the Carey’s (Marilyn and Rob). For the past three years I’ve turned to them and bought their leftover hay. For the past six days Marilyn and I have been trying to coordinate our schedules so that I could pick up some hay. At first we weren’t too worried. I had twenty bales left and the sun was shinning. Then it started raining. The horses kept eating and I found myself needing hay. Today was a write-off. It rained or drizzled constantly. However, right around 7:00 P.M. the precipitation stopped.

I put in an order for a pizza at 7:23. The restaurant closes at 8:00. The place is in Schomberg, about fifteen minutes from here. As I was going out the door, the phone rang. It was Marilyn. “Would now be a good time to pick up some hay?”

“I just ordered a pizza in Schomberg. I can’t get to your place and back in time to pick up the pizza before they close at 8:00.”

We talked a bit and I said that perhaps Bill would pick up the hay. Thought a bit more on that subject and said, “No, he appears to be done for the day.” Marilyn commiserated, “I’ve been asking Bob to get two stalls ready for the horses arriving any day now, but each day he says he’ll do it tomorrow.”

We finished our conversation with the decision that Marilyn would call in the morning and see if we could arrange something. Since I have ONE bale of hay left in the loft…

I got into the van and decided to check to see if Bill might actually be willing to take the tractor, with the empty manure spreader attached to it, 500 metres down the road to Marilyn’s. I drove to the farm laneway, parked the van, walked up the drive and found Bill in the arena…sitting…watching two people who were riding and there were two more seated near him. I leaned over the half door and asked if anyone would like to pick up ten bales of hay. Allen said, “I’ll help.” And Bill said, “OK.”

Allen added, “We can take my truck and put the hay in it.” I mentioned the tractor and the manure spreader as a means of transport.

They left the arena and I headed to the phone in the attached barn to call Marilyn and inform her of the change of plans. The answering machine came on and I left a message, hoping that she was still on her farm because she wanted to be there when we came for the hay. (I could see the spontaneous plan falling apart at lightning speed.)

I checked my watch. It was 7:35. I walked down the driveway and caught a glimpse of the tractor followed by my van heading towards Marilyn’s. My wallet was in the van with the cash I needed to buy the pizza. My private hide-e-hole in the kitchen only had a few bills in American currency. I put in a few trot steps, got to where my van had been, confirmed that I hadn’t been hallucinating and that it wasn’t tucked around a corner out of view behind the driveshed and began to wonder WHY these two men had chosen a mode of transportation that had not been discussed in the arena.

I walked back up to the arena. It was 7:42. I asked if anyone had a vehicle and money. Of course the two riders and one watcher (all females) wondered “Why”. I could tell that I wasn’t making a great deal of sense, but they were getting my main point: I need money and a vehicle and there was a very good chance that I was “losing it” (my mind). Sophie is sixteen and wondered, “Why didn’t they take the truck. They said they were going to take the truck.” I had no answer for that. And, really, could I tell a sixteen-year-old what I knew about MEN… succinctly?

Brenda had a vehicle, no cash (she offered her bank card) and, on second thought, the vehicle had no fuel… to speak of.

Ciara was on a horse. She had cash and a vehicle. I said I’d go with her. “No.” (The time it would take to clear room for me to sit in her car would put us way past the 8:00 P.M. deadline.)

Ciara said, “Winnie, call the restaurant and tell them I’m on my way.” Which prompted me to ask, “Do you know where it is?”

Thirty seconds later she had the directions memorized, got off the horse and headed to her car. I cut through a paddock and called the Junction Restaurant. A lady answered and recognized my voice. I told her, “My husband took my car, my wallet and I can’t pick up the pizza, BUT a friend is on her way!”

“Oh, don’t worry. We’ll be here for a while. We’ve had a ton of pizza orders.”

I asked, “Are you married?”

“No, but I was twice. Both are deceased.”

For a split second I paused…should I commiserate or continue? I went with “continue”.

“So,” I said, “You do understand about men?”

“Oh, yes.”

“When I get my hands on Bill, he just might be deceased, too.”

“Let us know; we cater!”