We are very sorry about the hay bale incident.
It's just that we were having so much fun in the hayloft and sometimes when a large number of kids is together having fun, they neglect to be sensible. But really, sensible isn't the right word. What we did made perfect sense to us.
We wanted to leap into emptiness from the safety of the hayloft, swinging out wide as we held tight to the thick rope, letting dusty bars of sunlight flick past our lean, tanned bodies. Having something soft to cushion our fall was sensible.
Hay bales were available: we used them.
How could we have known they were of such great worth? How could we have known they weren't even yours, that you were storing them for a neighbor?
When you stood in the door of the barn, blocking the light, your gnarled hands fisted on the faded green of your trousers, we knew that our definition of sensible was vastly different from yours.
You didn't have to say a word; you rarely said many. But your eyes spoke volumes, and your lips were a thin, pale line. We knew we had done wrong.
We filed silently down the ladder and stood knee deep in a bright pile of unbaled hay. Probably thirty bales we had thrown down to catch us when we fell.
We had only gotten one or two turns each to leap into the air, breathless in fear and also joy as we flew through those dusty beams of light. We stood, heads bowed before you as you finally spoke.
You spoke shame to us and we felt it, even though we still didn't understand what we had done.
Then our fathers and mothers found us, and their words and their punishment made us smart but not wise.
We are wise now, Grandpa, and we know what we did wrong. We are sorry about the cost of our fun. We are sorry that our scheme created destruction. We apologize for trying to fly.
Children Playing in Hay Loft by Victor C. Anderson