Thursday, July 26, 2012


Kansas Hay Bales I,II,III, Lake Kahola, KS

Sharing life on this planet is a lot about relationships and learning about human behavior in the “school of hard knocks”. Not everyone treats you the same or acts the same for sure. My brother-in-law recently shared a story which revolved around a 1950’s conversation between his parents who lived on a farm in central Kansas all their lives. This particular “lesson learned” is now securely in the verbal lore of the Flint Hills. And it also reinforces one of those eternal lessons which states “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”!

It seems the farm family had a neighbor who was not only tight with his money, but had developed a severe character flaw. Frank had sold the neighbor about seventy dollars worth of prairie hay and the neighbor was exhibiting a reluctance to pay for it. So Elsie asked Frank to visit the neighbor and collect the past due money. When he returned, she asked if he had collected the debt. “No”, Frank replied, “he said that he didn’t have any spare money right now”.

Frustrated, Elsie requested that Frank try to barter for an equivalent number of young calves. When Frank returned, she asked how many calves he had brought home. “None.”, Frank responded, “He said he didn’t have any calves he wanted to part with right now”. Elsie then demanded to know what Frank was going to do right now.

“Well, Frank matter-of-factly replied, “I’m not going to sell him any more hay”.

End of conversation.

End of story.

Frank didn’t get mad. He didn’t think about retaliation. He didn’t lawyer up. He simply chose to avoid dealing with the unethical man again and left him to deal with himself. And a few prairie hay bales seemed a small price to pay for the lesson.

“Trust everyone, but brand your calves.”

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