Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Giving Someone A "Story"

Hay Bales
Hay Bales
by Will Klemm

Before I get on with my blog post, let me say that round bales in a field bring an enormous calm to my soul. I don't know why.
Maybe in a former life, I was a farmer's wife.
Once the hay was baled, it meant a successful growing season??
I fell in love with this painting back when Will Klemm was an up and coming artist.
He hails from Austin and I saw this work in a gallery years and years ago.

It still speaks to me.

But why do I use a picture of hay today?
Today, I got a bale of hay at Tractor Supply.
They don't usually carry hay.
I don't usually buy hay.
I buy one bale a year to help my hens stay warm during our cold snaps.

I wasn't prepared to buy hay.
I didn't have a tarp in the back of my car to protect everything from stray pieces of hay.
I figured I'd gently place the bale down in the back cargo area and vacuum out the pieces later.

I should have followed my instinct when I got in line to pay.
My cashier was a bit abrupt.
There was some back and forth between he and the manager about some woman that wanted empty feed sacks. I could tell that he had other things on his mind.
The thought befuddled him.
"Why would we have empty feed sacks?"

Anyway, back to the hay.
He insisted on putting the hay in my car himself.
I knew it was to get out of the store.
I told him I could get it.
"Nope, I'll do it."
He didn't offer to carry my 40# of seed corn, though.
I opened the back of my car and he tossed the bale in.
Not only did it thump in, it hit the back of the back seats and poofed hay all over the inside of my car.
Clear up to the dash!

Did I freak out like most folks would have?

Why not?

Because I gave him a 'story'.
His story went something like this......
"Christmas is just around the corner. I'm 55+ years old, working at a Tractor Supply. I can barely pay my bills, let alone buy presents for my grandkids. My boss is riding me about some woman who thinks I have the power to come up with empty feed sacks so she can make purses or bags or some darned thing...."

This story and the hundreds more I come up with each year, enable me to get along with my fellow human beings.
I chose not to fly off the handle at folks that cut me off in traffic, butt in front of me in a checkout line, ignore me when I say 'excuse me' to get by in the grocery store, park so close to me in the parking lot that I can't get in my car, and on and on.

But don't those folks know they're being rude? Don't they need a dressing down?
I just choose to believe that most folks are good.
Most folks aren't on this planet to make my life difficult or tick me off.
If I let all the little irritations in my daily life get to me, I'd be covered with a rash by days end.

I remember when my mom was dying.
I'm quite sure I was short and snippy and paid no attention to how I treated strangers.
I was in my own little world.
I had a story.

The next time you want to chase someone down in their car because they cut you off, try to imagine that they are in a hurry because their wife is in labor or their husband got laid off this morning.
It'll be good for both of you.
If that doesn't work, think of round bales in a field.
Maybe that'll help.


  1. The painting is wonderful and so serene. It just says, relax, breathe, it's not worth it to get your undies all in a knot.

    You'll be pulling hay out of your car until July. Each stem should remind you of the story of this day. And the hens will be SO happy!

  2. You're so good. And I *loved* your story about the story. It made me feel peaceful reading it, even though it's about stress-inducing incidents. How'd you *do* that? lol
    Also, I, too, have a "thing" for round objects. Much like your round bales of hay, it comforts me to hold those little decorative orbs that have designs and colorful things inside them. Do you know which I mean? I think they're generally used as paperweights. I seriously believe my blood pressure goes down when I hold those in my hand and I have no idea why. lol

  3. You've written about how you create "stories" before, and I think it is a marvelous idea. It reminds me of the quote, "Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle." -Plato

    Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Good blog post, one I needed. Sometimes I find it easier to guess someone's story than if I actually KNOW their story. Sometimes KNOWING the real story messes the whole thing up. I love you and I'm so glad you are part of my family!

  5. Oh yes! I love this and have used it often, and I'm sure that other wonderful and generous folks have used it with me, too. And I'm very grateful for that.

    Sometimes I find that even just a smile and some 'comraderie speak' work wonders at defusing a situation, like when I recently went a sub shop and the girl as the counter seemed very short and rude with me. She wouldn't even look me in the eye and was just tense all over.

    I just smiled huge at her and started asking her if her shift was almost over and if she enjoyed her job, how long she had worked there, and if she has always lived in ABQ. Within a few moments her wall had crumbled and she was smiling right back at me, telling me all sorts of stuff, including sharing with me how two of her co-workers were gossiping about her and making her job difficult.

    It felt good to see her smile and relax and as I ate my sub at the table I noticed that the next customers she waited on were treated to her smile and some friendly words. That really made my day.

    We all have bad days and bad experiences in life, but just one person can turn it all around and bring a smile to another's face.

    I also really like the quote thatt Katie said and I try to remember that as I go through my day. Because it is so very true.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family,

  6. Oh! And I forgot to say that I always have bits of hay in the back of my van and stuck to the back of the rear seats, even when I use a tarp.

    For me, every time I see the hay there it reminds me of the dreams and wishes I had years ago, to finally own my own farm and critters.

    The first time I had a bale of hay in my van was over 4 years ago, when we lived in the suburbs and I owned several rabbits.
    I imagined what it would be like to have a bale of hay in my van for my very own horse and llamas.

    And my dreams finally came true. So seeing hay in my van always brings smiles to my face and joy in my heart....and I never worry about removing even one stem of it....unless of course I invite my llamas, goats or horse to stick their head in and pick it out themselves *smile*


    word verification: prized

    The hay is my van is prized with all my heart :)

  7. Absolutely PERFECT. I'm just going to keep thinking about this post and your beautiful round bales of hay. Like Danni said, I feel peaceful now. :D

    What a wonderful post.

    Have a GREAT day CeeCee. xxoo

  8. Cee Cee, what a wonderful story and great advice too. I like this approach and sometimes I need it. Merry Christmas to you and your family and a happy, healthy 2011.

  9. Cee Cee that is a great idea to give a story to an otherwise irritating event. I grew up with hay in my parents station wagon. Even though we had a truck my father usually had it while working out of town so mom resorted to picking up a few extra bales for pet bedding after we ran out of our hay that we grew. I love that photo of the hay bales...

  10. Great story, CeeCee! It's one I need to remind myself of if and when (which I hope is really never) go shopping in the mall....I will practice this story stuff and when I do I know it will remind me of you.

    Wonderful advice!