I live in an upscale area where, as I drive my Toyota van, I feel a bit out of place among the BMVs, Mercedes’ and Jaguars that I see around the neighborhood. It doesn't bother me, just something I notice.
I must admit that my favorite mode of transportation is … a farm wagon piled with bales of straw. Hayride! I thought of this the other day as my wife and I visited Ace Hardware for household supplies, and outside the store, along with “hardy mums” (as opposed to sickly mums, I guess) were bales that one could purchase for outdoor fall events or decoration. I’m aware that this use of straw is far removed from the agricultural world which, two or three generations ago, was the norm for many more Americans than now. Still, I cherish memories of the few hayrides I’ve taken: one or two during my church-youth-group days, another during a visit to a cousin's farm, still another during my first and happiest job as parish pastor, and the last, a fall family time in southeastern Indiana, when my wife, young daughter, and I rode down a pumpkin farm’s unpaved lane to pick our own Halloween pumpkins.
In a perfect world, I think I’d like to ride among straw bales as I go about my daily errands. I’d have a nice-looking, spruced-up John Deere tractor pull the wagon along. I’d lay peacefully in the straw, watching the clouds overhead, and think about things in an unhurried way.
This fantasy raises two important questions, Who would drive the tractor that pulled the wagon? and What would I do about all the angry people who’d want to kill me after they followed me 10 mph down the road? I don’t know the answers. But still, I love the thought of a hayride! Maybe I’ll see if any fall festivals around our community features hayrides. It would be my first in several years!