The Hay Devils
by Colin P. Davies
Every July Dad would put me on the Greyhound, wave a hearty goodbye, and shout, “House’ll be hollow without you!” Then I’d clamber up on the seat to hoist my bag onto the rack and listen as he pounded the horn in his rusty old pick-up. This year that parting call sounded more forlorn than ever. To my early-adolescent mind, Dad was becoming increasingly odd and worryingly isolated. Lately, I’d woken at night to hear him talking to Mom. The next day he would confess to me how much he still missed her.
But, for the next month, I could put all that behind me. I was off, a hundred miles to the west, to Granddad’s farm; an Illinois retreat for me and my cousins Ray, Suzie and little Sam. It would be a time of picnics and perfect sunshine, of bicycles in the dust and splashing in the cool river.
As the bus moved out of the city, exchanging the squalor of the slums for the lawns and colonnades of the suburban estates, my thoughts were already racing ahead along the road. This holiday would be so much more memorable.
“This year…” I told myself. “This year I aim to catch me a Hay Devil.”