Denis Lehane: It will be a hungry summer for silage contractors

Denis Lehane: It will be a hungry summer for silage contractors

The coronavirus hit us all hard, and I believe it will hit silage contractors worst of all. It will hit them where it hurts the most, in the belly.

No longer allowed into the kitchens and delectable parlours of the nation, devoid of company, they have been made outcasts by social distancing requirements.

No longer permitted into a farmer’s dwelling due to Covid fears, the contractors will, for the first time in the history of silage making, have to fend for themselves.

It will be a summer of rushing to make sandwiches at dawn, and of swigging from a bottle as you struggle to make your way down the headland.

They will suffer alright. A silage army marching on an empty stomach.

It will be silage contracting Lough Derg style.

Worse again, for the younger cadets in the contracting ranks, the delights of conversing with a farmer’s daughter at the dinner table are no longer on the cards either.

Those “Would you like a bit more butter on the spuds, André?” type of situations, are no longer part and parcel of the scene.

I know first hand how pleasurable it can be to waltz into a kitchen filled to the rafters with farmers’ daughters, about the same age as yourself.

I worked with a contractor for a spell, many years ago, long before I became the famous writer you now adore and enjoy so dearly.

Back then, my friends, the dinner was only an excuse to exchange pleasantries with those heavenly creatures.

Sure, didn’t I marry a farmer’s daughter myself in the finish, such was their allure.

The only thing that surprises me is that there was any silage cut at all.

With the height of talk over the pouring out of gravy and the scooping out of warm spuds, the dinner could go on longer than the job of silage making.

Many young men met their future partner over a pot of steaming potatoes, while covered in oil and dressed to kill in overalls.

Indeed, with the help and enthusiasm of a fellow farmer, my good friend, Michael Murphy, some time back we managed to pen a lively play dealing with the very subject.

Our play, entitled ‘The Contractors’, deals with the playboys of the silage contracting world.

I’m sure it would be a world wide smash hit right now on Broadway or some other spot, if only that damned virus hadn’t spoiled our fun.

We may have to make a movie out of it in the finish, if the Abbey or Peacock won’t open their doors soon, and adequately deal with a play that is burning to get onstage.

It’s a production that needs to be fleshed out either on stage or on screen, otherwise there was no point in writing it.

While the play might need a little bit of adjusting before the curtains finally open, I’ve no doubt even Shakespeare himself needed a bit of adjusting before fame finally struck.

A young Gabriel Byrne would be ideal to play one part, and an older Gabriel Byrne ideal to play another. It’s the kind of story that demands only the best.

Anyhow, as usual, I’ve drifted off the main topic of the thing, which today, if I recall properly, was all about the hunger that, over the coming summer, will exist in the silage making fields of Ireland.

Make no mistake, this summer, silage contractors will have to brace themselves for hungry days and lonesome nights.

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