Horses and Wagons on Country Roads

Reader Contribution by Arkansas Girl
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You know how some people are so progressive; others move forward seems like an inch at a time, and other seem never to move from the place they were a hundred years ago. Well, when I was a kid…no, I was almost grown when there were two older gentlemen who still used a horse-drawn wagon as their main mode of transportation during the 1960s. Now, granted, one of them lived quite a few miles out of town – actually all the way in the country and the other one lived, maybe four miles from town, which is still quite a good, bumpy, contentious ride in a wagon. Not that it’s anything bad about riding in a wagon, but if you are in a hurry, you might as well put on some extra patience, because you’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

This one man that was still riding in a wagon was a member of our church and a long-distance neighbor. It was so funny to see a church yard full of cars and trucks and then, this man would pull up in his wagon, hitch it to a tree and act as though he had just driven up in a limousine. I guess it’s okay what people want to do, but at that time, we couldn’t understand why he wanted to travel so slowly when everybody else was moving so fast.

Eventually, this gentleman did get a truck, and even though he seemed to have a hard time learning to drive, finally, he mastered the art of staying on the road and not running over anybody or anything. I think we kids applauded him when he finally moved into the 20th Century, but he probably didn’t care a hill of beans what anybody else thought.

Then, there was this other horse and wagon-riding man who was my Grandparents’ neighbor – a man who I was told was a college graduate. That part, we didn’t believe, but that’s neither here nor there. Of course, with both of these drivers, it was kind of embarrassing to see them riding in a wagon when everybody else had a vehicle. But as I said, they probably didn’t care what anybody thought, because my grandparents’ neighbor never owned a car. He was one of those people who refused to change for whatever reason, and we had to respect him as a man of his own conviction, which in a way is good. I think a lot of us would be better off if we held to what we think is good as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else. This is what this man appeared to do.

So, when Mr. Hightower passed away, we saw no more horse-drawn wagons in our neck of the woods. I’m not sure the exact year he passed, but I’m almost sure it was in the late sixties. By that time, drivers were traveling the roads and highways in four-wheel vehicles and were on the “expressway” to a faster, more modern way of getting around. But at least the wagon travelers left us their rich legacy of contrasting slower traffic with those drivers who were most definitely moving on in the faster lane.

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