I Admire the Grain Buyer


I Admire the Grain Buyer

Tall grain elevators in ev’ry rural town.
They cast a long evening shadow at sundown.
Lessons in peacemaking from up by the border,
Grain bought & sold & stored, don’t call them a hoarder.
Most small town firms were co-ops, owned by the farmers.
Mornings before combines go, guys stop, bench warmers.
Plowing, seeding & harvest & plans to acquire,
To sell bounty for cash from the local grain buyer.

Grain kernels elevated from pit to the top,
Sorted by variety, bazillions would drop.
When the bin became full it was joy & a thrill.
“Full” was a “discouraging word,” truckloads stood still.
Bumper crop years, each farmer had many bins filled.
They wished to sell wheat to buyers to have wheat milled.
A ‘plugged’ elevator gave growers stress & ire.
Pity the pained position of the grain buyer

Mem’ries abound from duties in the early days.
Grain wagons towed by horse & (don’t laugh) donkey brays.
Hydraulic lifts were often used to lift wagons’
Front wheels or unload gunny sacks they’d been baggin’.
Most teams stood quiet but an excitable horse,
Bedlam resulted, when they became “out of sorts.”
Truck hoists rested lifts, more crops raised without barbed wire,
Fairbanks Morse scales, kids & teams, recalled by grain buyers.

Huge corporations would hire employees to lead.
In small towns Co-ops, growers own. Now farms buy seed.
Mother Nature smiles on tiny kernels of grain
To sprout & grow from sunshine & droplets of rain.
Vignettes of buyers working in grain dust & heights
Seeding & harvest, open early & late nights.
Absence of drought & grasshoppers & hail transpired.
Decades of change & challenge intrigue the grain buyer.

There was a board member meeting confrontation.
That caused our friend, the buyer, some consternation.
THEY wanted a new policy enacted TODAY!
The hired elevator manager had no say.
But he protested, “I buy the grain from my friends,
This plan could be the touchy point where friendship ends.”
There was a caution used when he dared to inquire
By this kind man, Alf Wall, who was their grain buyer.

“You know they are stockholders    & they are my boss.
Your new plan would make my customers take the loss.
I really feel they need to vote on this bad plan.
Listen, I can’t, in good faith, be the ‘hatchet man.’
It is an affront to them, this plan I deplore.
I can’t, in good conscience, open the front door.”
When they counted the votes, the board threatened to fire
Mister Wall, the candid, & loyal, grain buyer!

After ending the board meeting & the quibble,
On a cardboard sign, were 2 words he’d scribble.
It was his quiet method, he would disagree
To open myopic eyes, of the “powers-that-be.”
When a board member went to check, he was wishing
To retract that bad plan, when he read, “GONE FISHING.”
I share with you the simple reason I admire
That honest, peace-loving man, Alf, the grain buyer.

© Copyright 1995, rewrite 2015, by Orv Alveshere, Fargo, ND