The Great Haywagon Caper has a history, as does all great criminal activity, or at least serious mischief. This started a while back, maybe two or three years ago, but in reality it all started when I met Elbow in the Unitarian Church in 2002. Neither Elbow nor myself were very good at being a Unitarian, even though she is very rarely punctual, and Unitarians as a group never do anything at all in haste. If you’ve never heard of the Unitarians then just image the religious world as a great big piece of cookie dough. The Catholics came along and they cut out their cookies in the dough, the Jews came along and cut their cookies out of the dough, the Baptist and the Buddhists, and everyone else came along and cut their cookies out of the dough, and when everyone else was done, that dough that was left over, that kind had a shape of just about every religion ever known to mankind, well, that was the Unitarians. I’m not a real big fan of the religious, and the Unitarians are least damaging religion I’ve found to date. It didn’t work out and we stopped dating, but I remember them fondly.
It was surprising to meet someone who lived just a couple of miles from me, and Elbow and I quickly became very good friends. She has a small plantation that dates back to the 1800’s, and it’s been in her family forever. A relative left it to her, and one of the many wonderful things Elbow inherited was the hired help that ran the place. We’ll call one of the HH because that stands for Hired Hand. He’s older than I am by more than a few years, and he’s spent most of his time coming out on the wrong end of arguments with the local legal authorities. Mostly, these have been alcohol related incidences, so HH has neither an automobile, nor the license to drive such. Elbow has to go into town to pick him up, and hten return him to his home once the work is done. Thursday is usually the day Elbow has work down around the place, so I’ve learned not to bother her on those days. HH is good help. He mows, he keeps the paths clear, he does all manner of work, and he is a truly nice guy. The horses love him, the dogs love him, and I like the man. He and alcohol are best of friends, however, and most of his friends are a drinking support group.
Anyway, a few years ago I was driving into town, Elbow was gone out of town for some reason or another, and she had left HH in her house to take care of things. She had done this before and it had worked out very well. The animals have someone to look after them, and HH has a very nice place to hang out and drink. But this day, there poking down the middle of US 221, was Elbow’s tractor. There was HH standing up while driving, weaving, waving people around him, and having the very best of times. Taking a tractor on a beer run is not uncommon in South Georgia, trust me on this, but that doesn’t make it any safer. I told Elbow what I had seen and she was more than a little skeptical. However, on her next trip out, as she was telling HH what was to be done while she was gone, before she could say it he said, “And no more trips into town on the tractor” Just so.
Flash forward to Thanksgiving Day, 2009. As I was heading back to the house there poking down the middle of US 221 was what looked very much like Elbow’s tractor. It was pulling a Haywagon pull of people. This was as bad as it was going to get. I went up to Hickory Head, turned down on Baden, and checked to see if there were tractor tracks coming out of Elbow’s place. There were. I doubled back and went back to 221 but there was no tractor and no Haywagon. Whoever it was had turned off on Roberts Road. The very last thing I wanted was to confront HH while he had been drinking, and even less so if he had some buddies with him, so I called Elbow and left it at that.
Today I went over at her request, and HH was mowing grass. He barely looked at me, but he did wave. The Haywagon was parked in the barn. Busted, I’m thinking. Elbow will be back in town tomorrow night.
I’ll keep you updated.