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Seeking Out the Heavy Bales
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 • Posted March 9, 2012 1:20 PM

We have purchased a lot of alfalfa hay from our friend Rudy Avila in El Paso. We go back to him for two reasons: one, he is a trusted friend, and two; we know we will get a quality product at a good price.

Rudy doesn’t sell hay to the big guys. You can’t just pull onto his place with an eighteen wheeler and load up. He prefers to help the little guys for which we are very grateful. He prides himself on selling large, heavy bales of hay at the same price that others get for lighter, smaller bales. Most of his bales weigh in at close to eighty pounds while others’ hay might weigh fifty pounds. The difference is how the baler is set. It can be set to make large compact bales or it can be set to make smaller, loosely packed bales and yet, when selling by the bale, they will generally bring the same price on the open market.

One year someone told a lady who had acquired a large number of sheep that she might consider buying hay from Rudy. “He will treat you right,” she was told. She had already tried someone else’s hay and when she went to Rudy’s place and hefted one of his bales, she shook her head and said there was something wrong.

“This hay is much too heavy,” she said. “There must be something wrong with it.” She refused Rudy’s offer and went back to her original supplier and paid the same price for considerably less hay. She probably isn’t so much different than many of us who are sometimes willing to get less than what we pay for. Take education, for example.

I learned early on that you can lead that proverbial horse to water but sometimes you just can’t get him to drink. I have attended schools in both Mexico and in the United States. Even today, many schools down there are fortunate to have paint on the walls. It’s not unusual for students to sit three or four to a desk. Computers in the classroom are merely a dream.

In this country our schools typically have computers in each comfortable, well appointed classroom, good hot food in the spacious cafeteria, hardwood floors in the multi-purpose, air conditioned gymnasium, all kinds of high tech equipment in the science lab, and library walls crammed with books. In order for Mexican students to go on to “preparatoria” or high school, they have to pass rigorous exams. Here, we demand that everyone go on to high school whether they want to or not, and many will do almost anything to avoid learning.

I worked in an El Paso high school that had a state-of-the-art vocational program that included a cosmetology lab. Upon completion of the cosmetology course students were well prepared to take the state exam which would qualify them to become licensed beauticians. They could get hired right out of high school. However, due to the rigorous nature of the course, many failed to take advantage of it. Instead, after graduating from high school, and not knowing what else to do, would enroll in a cosmetology program for which they would pay thousands of dollars. Many of those who took the high school course didn’t want to be cosmetologists, as a profession, but used the skills acquired to pay their way through college while they became proficient at some other trade or profession.

In college there were many students, and unfortunately I sometimes I found myself in their ranks, who would sign up for a class and then do the very minimum required to pass it. It wasn’t a matter of learning, it was simply a matter of passing the course in order to receive “credit” on a transcript. How would you like to have surgery performed by a doctor who did the minimum required in order to get through medical school? Even though the cost is high and the hours are long, he or she may be content to settle for the small, light bales.

Then there are those of us who think we know it all and will not let ourselves be taught. An ancient prophet said, “O the vainess, and frailties of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not… But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.”

He went on to say, “Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.” (2 Ne: 28 & 51)

As for me, I think I will always try to go for the large, heavy bales.


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