An $800 Hat Just Perfect for the Pandemic: Week #16, 9/23/20
Jared did not want to call me. No one ever wants to call their boss with bad news.
Just 1 mile down the road, on a transfer from our K fields to our main operation, Jared caught a tire on the edge on the edge of the county road. The cabbage-loaded box truck he was driving swerved off, and was stuck in a ditch.
At first I thought perhaps I could drive a skid steer down the road, unload the pallet of red cabbage that was weighing the truck down, and free the truck. But when I arrived, one look at the situation told me that wasn’t going to be possible.
This 16 foot box truck had its passenger wheels in the roadside ditch, its front drivers side tire on the road, and its drive rear tire in the air. The truck looked like it could tip over onto its side at any second.
Calmly, I walked to the driver side and instructed Jared to get out. I felt my first breath of relief when I saw his netted yellow and turquoise tennis shoes hit the pavement safely. Then I asked Meghan, in the passenger side, to unbuckle as quickly as she could and scramble out the driver side. When her boots hit the ground I almost exploded into tears, such relief I felt at their safety.
Together we hung out and waited for the towing service to arrive. We gossiped. We theorized about whether the cabbage would survive this. We talked about Jared and Megha’s future farm.
When Adam, from Prairieland Towing showed up, he was all business. He took one look at the situation and didn’t even say hello. He immediately began snapping pictures on his work iPad and talking into his earpiece about the gravity of the situation. After just a couple of minutes, he walked over to me and explained that he was fairly confident that he could get the truck out of the ditch without tipping it, but he wasn’t sure. He asked me to sign away any liability on his part.
What followed was like watching a horror movie. Sometimes we could watch, sometimes we couldn’t.
Adam was super skilled. He cussed incessantly into his head piece. He broke two 15,000 lb. winches. He turned to us occasionally and beat his hand quickly over his heart, indicating how nervous he was.
He broke this task into about 20 separate moves. It was impressive to watch this mean approach this difficult task like a chess player. One strategic move after another.
Several times we’d hear a snap, or the shuddering of the roll down door and all of us would just turn our backs – we couldn’t bear to watch it tip over. It reminded of me of how I used to (and sometimes still do) close my eyes and hum during scary parts of movies.
Adam was ultimately successful – and it was so cool to see. After such stress, such patience, this skilled technician hollered, “Bam! Bam! Bam!” cheering his own victory.
He later admitted that he’d never had such a difficult job in his career, which he began in 1996. When we asked him how close the truck was to tipping on its side, he replied, “A hair’s breath.”
Meghan offered Adam a red cabbage, but he declined. He doesn’t like red cabbage – which made all of us laugh.
Eight hundred dollars later, I was driving the truck back to the farm. Relieved the thing was still running, thankful our staff members and our red cabbages were safe.
Jared felt badly for his mistake, and appreciated my calm.
As a token of his appreciation, the next morning sitting for me by the radio shelf was a black and gray hat with the embroidered letters, “WTF” on it. I’ve coveted this particular hat. The letters stand for Wartberg Track and Field, but to me all I see is one of my favorite expressions: What The [email protected]#$$.
So this fall out in the fields, I’ll be sporting my veggie themed mask and my $800 black and gray hat with bold orange letters that shout, WTF! A celebration of my calm, and my own personal flipping of the bird to the pandemic.
Enjoy your veggies,