Halloween is this week. I have to admit that Halloween has lost most of its luster at our house. My kids are teenagers so they are not going out and trick-or-treating (or they better not be) and therefore Dad does not have any candy buckets to raid. The only candy I get now is what we buy just in case we have a trick-or-treater (as if I need any candy). That is OK because this year looks like just another day of harvest for Halloween anyway.
Halloween always makes me think of the old Peanuts cartoon where Linus is looking for the perfect pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin. He sure would have a dilemma around our neck of the woods, we now have several patches that he would have to drive out to and take a look at. You might say we have a proliferation of pumpkin patches (although you wouldn’t say it very fast). I think pumpkin patches and agri-tourism are great but I also think maybe they are missing a golden opportunity.
One morning while driving over to check cows I had a brilliant idea (that doesn’t happen very often so you better pay attention). What this country needs is a haunted hayrack ride for farmers and ranchers. We Ag producers are a jumpy bunch and scaring us would not be hard to do. Just think back to what makes you jump, cringe or want to hide and we can combine all of those into one spectacularly spooky hayrack ride.
The ride would start off with driving over a hill and seeing that your cows were out in the neighbor’s corn field. This not only scares the stuffing out of any cattleman but also incorporates a corn maze without all of the hassle of planning an entrance, exit or cutting trails. Just bale off of the wagon and follow a twisted wreckage of corn stalks.
Next stop would be a combine in a field of soybeans, the bin would be full and the engine would mysteriously die. In the background you would see flashes of lightening and hear claps of thunder. No matter what you do the combine will not restart and rain begins to spray the crowd.
If that is not terrifying enough, the hayrack would move on to a brushy pasture, in the distance you can see a cow. You get closer and closer and realize that something is not right and that is when you notice the problem. There they are two, tiny hooves pointing up and to the back. Just as you see the problem, the cow throws her head up in the air and disappears in the brush.
The ride continues and as you travel around a bend in the road you see a perfectly clean field of milo, suddenly everything goes dark and when the light comes back on weeds have covered up every sign of a crop (or the milo could be lying on the ground, you take your pick). The lights go out again and when they come back on you see sheep out in the field happily eating the heads of grain, blissfully unaware of the mayhem ingesting all that grain will cause for their owner.
Just as the ride reaches its farthest point, a place where there is no cell phone reception, the tractor pulling the hayrack starts to make a terrible racket, smoke billows out from the engine and the tractor dies. As you get off of the wagon to look at the tractor a mechanic runs out of the shadows, hands you a bill worth more than the tractor, tells you he will be back on Thursday and runs off into the night.
You walk back to the start of the ride, carrying a baby calf you found, through a snow storm with howling winds. As you approach the safety of the homestead you will be rushed by a crowd of salesmen, survey takers, politicians, out of state hunters and neighbor kids selling magazines. Then as you finally break free of that crowd you will notice the flat tire on your pickup. That is when you pass out from fear.
It is a great idea and it will scare the socks off of even the bravest farmer or rancher. Well, it was a great idea until I remembered two things. First, any self respecting farmer or rancher is too tight to pay for something they get for free each day. Second, no one will ever show up because even if they had decided to come, a real life disaster probably made it so they couldn’t get away.