Tuesday, 1 May 2012

MayDay Flash - 'May Day' by Renaud Spencer

His neighbours and fellow-farmers of Petitcourt, in the heart of rural France, had never quite understood, and therefore never forgiven, Jean-Luc Mortier for the domestic fight that had sent his son into the town looking for work. Indeed, young Philippe Mortier, with only basic farming skills to his name, had found it impossible to find work, and had been reduced to polishing shoes on a street corner in the city, close to the hostel where he slept. Jean-Luc’s teenage daughters Amelie and Aurelie had helped on the farm as best they could, milking the cows and tending the vegetable plot. But Jean-Luc would go out on his ageing tractor alone at the crack of dawn to plough the fields and sow his corn, and not return home exhausted till well after dark. And like every other farmer, he was forced to hire in help for the harvest, farm-workers who hired themselves out at the busiest times. On the sunniest days. One could say that Jean-Luc was making hay, while the son shines...

But today was different. With the passing of Jean-Luc, some said due to the strain of the harvest without the support and help of his son, the farm was to pass automatically to Philippe. And he was finally coming home to claim his birthright. It was with a heart filled with trepidation that the weary Philippe crested the hill, to reveal the familiar little farmhouse and cluster of barns, surrounded by those immaculate golden fields of corn. To each side of the road were the tents of the temporary farm-workers, all in the fields harvesting the crop. Some operated the tractors while others baled the hay and loaded the trailers. As he walked towards his sisters, Philippe passed the tents of those making hay.

And as everyone knows, the past tense of making hay is “made hay”…

1 comment:

  1. Witty and fun, but at the same time filled with a real feeling for rural France. Bravo on a perfect May Day flash!