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The Manure Spreader: Fixing retirement

Tim Moffett Published on 24 August 2015

Answer me this: Why at “retirement parties” do they give the retiree a new watch? At this point in their lives, do they really need a watch? If there were such a thing as a retirement party for a farmer, and he received a watch, chances are he would shoot the rooster the next day. The rooster didn’t retire, but the hand of the watch terminated his job.

I don’t feel farmers really retire. They just start to move slower, shrink a little in stature and become an expert consultant on the way things used to be. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, stop into any local Hardee’s or coffee shop tomorrow morning.

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Store opens at 6 a.m., but they normally arrive by 5:15 a.m. There is an unwritten competition about who gets up the earliest. These guys will sit there drinking coffee for hours while saying hello and chatting up anyone who enters.

These are the eyes of the community, the geriatric neighborhood watch. They know who’s got relatives in from out of town, they know who’s paying the best price on beans, they even know who is seeing who, but they don’t know what time it is. None of them received a watch, and the rooster is at home.

These old guys start to disperse around 10:30 a.m., all the while complaining to each other about the things they gotta get done today. It has nothing to do with the fact that they each just drank two pots of coffee and in this “condition,” at their age it’s “dangerous” to be too far from the home throne.

After watching The Price is Right and eating a peanut butter and liverwurst sandwich, it’s off to the hardware store. Why? Bolts. Not just any bolts – bolts the hardware store hasn’t had in stock for 20 years.

In fact, they don’t even make these kinds of bolts anymore. But being retired, you don’t know that. All you know is you need these special bolts to put in a coffee can, just in case you ever get around to fixing that thing you forgot the name of.

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After an hour of telling the “new” owner (he bought the store 35 years ago, but you still refer to him as the new owner) how much better the old bolts were because they would tighten easier, you leave empty-handed except for the free paint stirring stick. You’ve needed one of those to fix the screen door.

While getting back in your truck, you remember a conversation from the Hardee’s this morning. The feed store was having a sale on deer pellets.

You haven’t hunted since you were 16, but you buy the discounted pellets anyway, giving you a reason to stop by your nephew’s farm. After selling him the pellets at full price, you ask him if he has any bolts.

Not just any bolts – these special bolts you need just in case you decide to fix that thing you still can’t remember the name of. After two hours of searching and telling stories, you leave empty-handed except for the empty 55-gallon drum. You need it to fix your septic tank from all the coffee.

You finally get nestled into your favorite recliner for the evening. You turn on the television with anticipation of relaxing to Wheel of Fortune, only to notice that the show is already over. It’s then you think to yourself, “I really wish I had a watch!” PD

Tim is a Florida dairy farmer and stand-up comedian. Have him at your next farm-related event or visit his website.

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