Archived Story

Reggie Williams’ nagging headache

Published 9:18pm Tuesday, October 22, 2013

By Rex Alphin

He pulled up his jeans, buttoned his shirt and grabbed his hat imprinted with the words “Williams Feed and Seed.” Ambling out to the barn, Reggie dropped some corn into a trough for six heifers he planned to add to his herd.

Glancing toward the pasture, he noticed a lone cow in the west corner. Reaching to the barn wall, he switched hats to “Williams Veterinary Services” and briskly walked to the cow lying on her side in labor. Realizing the calf was positioned incorrectly in the birth canal, he, along with the cow, pushed and twisted and strained for a good hour.

Eventually a black-whiteface bull calf emerged, wet and panting, but alive. All three rested from their labors.

Mid-morning found Reggie standing in a peanut field checking the stand of freshly planted goobers. He scratched up a few sprouted seeds and wondered if they should have been planted a quarter-inch deeper. Perhaps the rain forecast in two days would be enough to bring them up.

A passing motorist noticed Reggie kneeling in the field, with the words “Reggie’s Agronomics” on his hat.

After lunch, the farm shop was in disarray, covered with tools, bearings and grease. A curse word split the air through the faint sound of music, as someone sat neck-deep amongst the inner workings of a peanut combine.

Like a gull on the ocean, his hat occasionally bobbed to the surface, showcasing the oil-stained words “Williams Mechanical Services.” Reggie wondered why the inventors of this confounded machine didn’t make it easier to repair.

Just before dusk, out behind the shop were four stakes driven square-shaped into the earth fifty feet apart. Tall posts, nails and roof metal sat stacked to one side as a male figure stood in the midst of it all, lost in thought, contemplating the future shelter for his machinery.

Knowing a square building makes everything work better, he re-measured the diagonals, all the while considering how to plan the electrical system as to switches, outlets and amperage.

Stitched on his hat could be seen “R.W. Services — Engineer, Draftsman, Builder, Electrician.”

After supper, Reggie settled in behind his desk to pay bills, record transactions, make deposits and evaluate the condition of his operation. “Reggie Williams, CPA” were the words now on his hat.

Bedtime found him exhausted, slipping into bed beside his wife of 30 years. He complained of his nagging headache.

“That’s no surprise,” she thought as he slipped into sleep. “It comes from wearing too many hats.”

Rex Alphin of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald. His email address is rexalphin@aol.com.

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