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National Editorials & Columns

The hayloft and the horse resurrection

There are two certainties about life I have accepted.

One is at some point in July I will be up in a miserably hot hayloft maneuvering and lifting hundreds of bales of hay that are half my body weight.

The other certainty is if I don’t get right with the big man upstairs, then my afterlife will consist of lugging around and stacking bales of hay in Hades.

Why am I stacking hay? I do not live on a farm, nor did I grow up on one.

The answer is simple: cheap and dependable labor.

My uncle Don, aka the Donfather, gives my friends and I unlimited access to his swimming pool each summer provided we assist him with stacking bales of hay in his barn for his and my aunt’s three horses.

Each July, the Donfather summons me, and I in turn recruit my friends, to fulfill an offer none of us can ever refuse.

Usually, half of the guys go into the hayloft and the other half stay outside and carry or load bales onto the elevator (a new addition this year).

For the last four years I have always been selected to go into the hayloft. I can’t stand being up in there. It’s more work up in the hayloft and it’s the worst place in the world to be.

It’s dark. There are stinging insects flying about. Any position aside from stooping over constantly will result in violently banging your head against the rafters.

In other words, perfect conditions to be stacking large blocks of dead vegetation in. It’s like a human-sized game of Jenga, only there are no winners, only losers, especially if you forgot to put deodorant on that day.

On top of all of this, haylofts can be incredibly hot in July. Despite the heat, and my aggressive hay allergies, it is almost mandatory that a person wear pants, a long-sleeved flannel shirt and gloves when stacking.

It is never a good idea — I repeat, it is never a good idea — to wear swimming trunks whilst stacking hay, even if one plans to go swimming in their uncle’s pool immediately afterward.

Then there is the hay elevator.

When 50-pound hay bales are flying off of it at an amazing rate, it’s an impressive piece of farming hardware one must be mindful of at all times. It has agricultural amputation written all over it.

We had just loaded the first 100 bales and had 100 more to go. The eight of us were on break. We were drinking adult beverages that the Donfather was fueling us with.

Things were going great, which in my world usually means a tsunami of horse manure is well on its way.

And it was.

I heard a commotion coming from below the hayloft. The others below were heard gasping in shock and horror. The Donfather calmly called out, “The horse is dead.” Another voice called out, “Her eyes rolled into the back of her head!” Yet another declared, “Her chest isn’t moving!”

It appeared the horse was dead and I spared myself the sight of walking over to take a look at the horse, named Trudy. My heart sank because I love animals. My heart sank even more because I knew I would soon be ironically assisting in burying a horse out in the hay pasture.

Then something unbelievable transpired.

A few minutes passed before a jovial chorus of onlookers cheered out and said the horse was alive again. The horse was breathing now, standing back up even.

The horse was resurrected somehow.

I’m telling you this straight from the horse’s ... well you get the idea.

Now imagine the rollercoaster of emotion I went through. The situation went from the horse being alive, to the horse being as dead as a doornail, and then to the horse miraculously coming back to life.

I had a hard time processing all of it, but I digress, mostly because I refuse to beat a dead horse.

Because it just might come back to life.

To contact Will E. Sanders email him at To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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