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At the request of daughter Julie, the following is my recollection of the summer of 1946…

It was the “Best of Times”

The “Worst of Times” had ended several months before with the ending of World War II, but the transition of a 100-percent war and defense economy to a civilian economy would be painfully slow. Men and women of the military were returning home and factories had to be closed to restructure themselves for production of civilian goods that had not been available for over five years. There had been no new autos, washing machines, refrigerators, etc. built since the end of 1941. Nothing but food and essentials had been available and most of those were either substitutes or synthetics. Unemployment was extremely high, and there was great labor unrest as job selection and wages had been frozen during the war and many unions were threatening strike. Shortages were the order of the day and lots of rationing of food, gas, tires, clothing remained; however ,there was expected improvement coming and a pent up demand and desire to shed the concerns of the war and return to normal times.

Amidst the confusion, I still was a somewhat rebellious teenager experiencing the usual conflict with parental rules and regulations. Older siblings were either in the Service or away at college and I was the only child remaining in our home. I felt that my parents were a little more strict than most of my friends’ parents. I am sure I made life a little more than miserable for them and perhaps that was the reason they agreed when I asked permission to work somewhere out of town during the summer following my sophomore year of high school.

As it turned out, the family of one of my friends had moved from Iowa to Oregon before his senior year and he remained in our hometown of Mount Ayr, Iowa to finish school. Our families belonged to the same church, and were good friends for many years. Don planned to join his family in Oregon upon graduation in May of 1946, and between the two of us ,we decided that hitchhiking on the “open road” would be the very best way for him to get there — and of course I was looking for an escape and might as well join him. My friend was 18, but in reality, I appeared to be the older of the two of us.

The Great Day Arrived

The last day of school in late May 1946, was met by an unseasonable cold, snowy day. That should have told us something. After receiving our final report cards, Mother reluctantly drove us to Creston to have the advantage of a slightly busier highway. This was long before Interstates The highways throughout the United States were narrow two-lane highways, and the preferred mode of travel was by train or bus. The newest vehicle on the road was a 1941 or older model except for a few WWII Jeeps converted for sale to the public. With gas rationing and only an occasional cabin camp to accommodate tourists, one would understand that there was little traffic except for locals moving from farm to town, a few salesmen, and a few local delivery trucks.

My father had written a letter of permission with a reference to his membership in the Masonic Order stating that any assistance to his son would be greatly appreciated. I dutifully placed it in my one small travel bag. After a few rides of a few miles each, the next ride would prove the wisdom of my father. We were picked up by an Iowa Highway Patrolman who seemed quite sure that we were runaways. Remembering the letter, I presented it to the officer who just happened to also be a Mason and was impressed with the letter. Nevertheless, he spoke on his radio to various authorities and after being convinced that we were “legals,” decided to transport us to the end of his assigned territory, our longest ride of the day. “Hitching” was not at that time considered as dangerous as it became by the mid-1950s. People were good, friendly and generous, and by nightfall we had reached Omaha, Nebraska. At that point we decided that we could afford a night bus ride to Cheyenne, Wyoming and not spend much more than we would at a hotel.

Day Two

To our surprise upon arriving in Cheyenne, the newspaper announced that there was a nationwide rail strike and there would be no trains running within the United States. Therefore, all rail passengers were dropped at the nearest bus station which meant that the already full buses were totally overwhelmed. Long lines were already in place and the overflow had joined us as hitchhikers. We found a city bus that would take us to the edge of town where we hoped to get a ride along with at least a hundred or two others hoping for the same thing.

Someone or something was in our corner that morning as a 1936 Oldsmobile drove past many “hitchers” and stopped in front of us. The driver, about 65, motioned for us to get in. In this day and age one would well imagine the worst if this were to happen. He announced that he would be going as far as Reno, Nevada, but would stop early each day enroute. We were welcome to complete that journey with him, or we could try to hitch a quicker ride if we so wished. The well dressed and very courteous man turned out to be a well-positioned Chef in a famous San Diego, California hotel. He was traveling across the nation alone and apparently we appeared to need him at that time. Our new friend was prepared for the worst, carrying spare everything, in the event of auto trouble: extra fuel, tires, automotive tools, and whatever. In addition, he had ice chests containing real butter, real sugar, bread, lunchmeat and various condiments in the event we found no restaurants in the wild west when needed. When a food establishment appeared at a needed time, we took our own butter, sugar, etc. in with us because he did not want oleo, sugar substitutes, etc. which were the order of the day because of shortages. Destination for the first night was Rock Springs, Wyoming. This meant that we would be stopping about the middle of the afternoon. We were dropped off on the highway near a cabin camp where we could stay the night. He told us that he would be at that spot by 8 a.m. and that we could ride the next day if we did not get an earlier ride.

Day Three

Of course the same conditions prevailed in Rock Springs and we gratefully accepted a ride with our new friend. As an aside event, in Rock Springs we witnessed a single coal locomotive train traveling at a high rate of speed with whistles blowing and no intent of stopping as it passed through the city. We assumed that rail traffic had resumed, only to learn that the locomotive had been stolen and for all practical purpose was a runaway train. After another day or two, President Truman seized the railways, and operated them with drafted employees or with Army personnel. Thereafter, the public transportation congestion was somewhat relieved.

Our day’s destination was to be Salt Lake City, Utah and again we were dropped off at a reasonably priced, clean tourist court, and again were told where to be if we wished to continue on with him. We were in Salt Lake by noon, and we soon decided we would just scout out the city and accept a ride with him in the morning.

Day Four

Another short drive day would take us to Elko, Nevada. We drove by the Great Salt Lake and across the Great Salt Lake Desert into the Nevada deserts. This was my first trip west of Iowa and of course I was in awe of newly seen territory, but mostly of the expanse of nothingness. We rarely saw any other traffic and can’t imagine how we expected to hitchhike across that forsaken land, but fortunately we were in good hands and were never hungry or in danger. We arrived in Elko on a Sunday and elected to go to the casinos instead of church, but we had no money for that sort of thing and of course were underage. We had already made the wise choice of sticking with the sure ride to Reno rather than attempting to proceed on our own.

Day Five

Our fifth day resulted in a change of fortune, bringing the kind of fear I had never known before. Well before reaching Reno, we came upon another vehicle driving very slowly along the shoulder with a flat tire almost to the point of driving on a bare wheel rim. Our benefactor, as mentioned previously, carried a supply of extra tires among other things and was of course, of a mind to lend a helping hand. The tireless vehicle was occupied by two men and a girl all about 25 to 30 years of age. Our friend inquired as to where they would be going. San Francisco was their destination and they indicated that they intended to drive straight through. Our good friend agreed to provide them with a tire if they would agree to take his two passengers to Sacramento where he had already determined would be our best route north to Oregon. They accepted and set about to mount and air the tire (everybody had a hand tire pump in those days). Our friend wished to spend a week or so in Reno. He provided us with some candy bars and snacks, addressed a couple of post cards to himself at his San Diego hotel, and instructed us to send them upon our safe arrival in Oregon. With that he bade us farewell.

The transfer was made with the instruction by the driver that the two of us were to sit in the front seat and one of the guys and the girl would occupy the back seat. These people were neither neat nor well dressed, and did not appear to be especially friendly. Shortly, I was tapped on the shoulder by the fellow in back and asked to reach under the front seat and hand him an item that I would find. Much to my surprise, the item was a revolver, the specifications of which I did not know. I had never held one in my hands before and I am sure that I was shaking and visibly frightened as I followed instructions.

There was little or no conversation on this trip. We passed through Reno, left the desert and begin climbing into the beautiful wooded mountains along the California, Nevada border in the Lake Tahoe area and famed Donner Pass. I had heard about the Donner Party from history and silently wondered if we would ever make it or also be eaten. Sometime in the mid afternoon with little or no traffic and passing through very few towns, we came upon a lonely, desolate mountain gas station and small cafe. We had gone through the snacks and were hoping we might stop for a bite to eat; however, an attendant filled us with gas and we were instructed to remain in the car with the girl. Our driver discreetly placed another pistol weapon in his pocket and entered the station and cafe. The other male positioned himself somewhere outside between the car and the station. Shortly, the driver ran from the station to the car and the other man leaped into the back seat. Off we went and I will never know exactly what took place inside. Free gas at least, I was sure of — and whatever else, I did not wish to know! Frightened beyond anything I had ever experienced, I fully expected to soon be pursued by California Highway Officers, a gun fight would ensue, and we all would be dead.

Down the mountain we went at a higher rate of speed than I was entirely comfortable with. Many years later as an over the road truck driver on splendid interstate highways in that area, I would learn that you descend the Pass for about 50 miles or so, all the while hoping your brakes won’t fail. However, as nightfall came, we were told that we would not arrive in Sacramento until around midnight. Also, they said the highway we wanted to go north on (Old U.S. 99) would go north from Roseville, not Sacramento, which was about 25 miles before you get to Sacramento and that was where they intended to let us out. I had never heard of Roseville and knew nothing of the area, so immediately began to feel that it was probably a remote area where we would surely be relieved of anything we had of value and then disposed of in an unfriendly ravine — or worse!

Day Six

Indeed we did arrive around midnight. Roseville turned out to be a fair-sized town and on spotting a Greyhound Bus Station, I suggested we go there for an inhabited shelter and possibly some badly needed food. Our new friends obliged without incidence, wished us well, and Don and I heaved a great sigh of relief. Counting our depleting funds, — and good fortunes upon not being slain — we determined that we had about enough to reach Oregon via Greyhound. We didn’t have quite enough for the full trip to Corvallis, but could get within about 120 miles at Roseburg, Oregon. From there we would try to hitch the rest of the way, or if that failed, we could call for someone from his family to come and get us. Arriving in Roseburg in mid afternoon, and with more traffic and frequent towns, we quickly got a series of rides to Corvallis arriving almost in time for supper, as we called it in Iowa.

The Rest of the Summer

It seems that I have told this story through the years and remember saying that we rode with the same guy for three days from Cheyenne to Reno, but as I recalled the events, it appears that we were actually with him for the better part of four days to travel a distance of about 950 miles (Good Wife Pat and I would later make that trip many times in about 18 hours with fuel and food stops included). I regret that I am no longer able to remember his name, but I would have to say that gentleman was one of those most unforgettable characters I have ever met. I did remember the hotel where he worked and attempted to contact him after entering the Navy in 1951 while training at the Navy Training Center in San Diego; however, that attempt proved unsuccessful. Also, I will not forget the other characters either. They did us no harm, but scared the bejeesies out of us!

The remainder of the summer was spent working on a farm about five miles out of Corvallis. I bought a used bicycle for about $7.00 and biked the trip daily. My employer, Mr. Grover Smith, who could have easily doubled for actor Percy Kilbride who played ‘Pa’ in all the ‘Ma and Pa Kettle’ movies, paid me the handsome salary of 75 cents per hour and I saved at least half of it. I had a room at Mrs. Giddings’ house for $4.00 per week. We grew mostly tomatoes on the farm with a hefty supply of other vegetables, and acres and acres of English walnuts — and no restrictions on the benefits of eating those healthy food items. Grover drove me over to the ocean at Newport a couple of times on weekends. I suppose there are other stories in here somewhere but this will be enough. I met numerous good people, and at the end of summer my parents and my sister Jean, home from the University for the summer, drove to Oregon and picked me up for my return trip to Iowa. My friend and co-hitcher Don, unfortunately died many years ago at an early age, so I am unable to ask him for other memorable details.

Yeah, it was pretty darn exciting for a 16-year-old kid in 1946.

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Somber and emotional thoughts and feelings have dominated my weekend.  I had many eloquent thoughts racing through my mind but seem unable to put them down in writing so shouldn’t even try.  I’m sure that I reflect more on the meaning of this day in my older years than I did as a younger man.  There have been numerous wonderful tributes on TV.  I especially have been impressed with some of the Public Television presentations, particularly the annual Memorial Day Concert from Washington D.C.

Joseph Stalin reportedly once said “a million deaths is a statistic, a single death is a tragedy.”  I guess he dealt more with statistics.  This weekend we see many images of very many cemeteries in very many places with rows and rows of white stones with thousands of flags representing the ultimate sacrifice.  Each burial site represents a tragedy for the loved ones.  In addition we will be reminded of the thousands of wounded still suffering in so many instances with countless injuries and amputation, and one can only ponder, why you and not me.  Caring for them and relieving them and their families of personal financial catastrophe must be the first priority, ahead of anything and everything  including credit card relief with National Park gun privileges.

This is just me speaking but I never had much empathy for those who disagreed with their country and chose to flee or otherwise refused to serve, or chose to protest by burning the flag or draft card while upholding their rights under the Constitution.  They would as quickly burn the Constitution if they felt it denied their precious rights.  I have come to believe that we really have no choice in the matter.  None of us chose by birth to be American, we just are.  That imparts certain patriotic obligations.  We can believe the country is wrong, as I sometimes do, but we each are required regardless of politics, religion, race or creed to answer positively when called to serve militarily.   I understand that not all will agree.

Daughter Julie’s genealogy studies and the Civil War stories and others reported, reinforce my feelings that things have always been and always will be, and the short time we are here requires us to continue the process as well as attempt to improve life for those who will follow.  In every case, the fallen have preserved the opportunity for the nation to continue in a positive way.  It’s up to the remaining to take advantage of that opportunity in a positive way.

Take this day to honor the fallen Veterans of all wars and the families who have endured.  Thank the surviving Veterans who willingly gave years of their lives as well.  The WWII vets are almost gone, and the vets of the next two wars are getting old.  Especially, remember and thank those presently serving.  Then, in spite of the lack of stellar present economic conditions,  be proud to be American.

I thought I had ceased blogging but here I am.  I do not do FaceBook or Twitter.  I really don’t know how or why they exist, and I see no reason in the foreseeable future why I would need to acquire those abilities.  Good wife, Pat allows me to observe photos and such that only seem to be available there.  Thus, I am somewhat covered and will not need to learn those things before they are no more, and are replaced by something else.  Digital citizens in our great digital universe move on,  without me.  Thank goodness I left teaching over 30 years ago, or I might be expected to understand it all.

The weather is improving in Iowa.  There are heavy thunderstorms this weekend, which can always bring the threat of floods.  I have not yet had to mow the grass but expect to within a week.  Then I’ll have to see about some plants in a few pots, and clean and prepare the screen patio for a few months of enjoyment.

The two faces of Iowa are locked in deadly editorial combat.  The current issue of course is Gay Marriage.  Our farm state image is not always portrayed complimentary by the Eastern Press, nor understood by most of the rest of the country.  First thoughts are often that we surely have been left behind by a lack of understanding of those things deemed important.  How shocking it must be to learn that Iowa with a 1 Percent Black populace, launched our first Black President on his way to victory,  or that a perceived Conservative Farm State would be one of the first states after Massachusetts to legalize Gay Marriage.

We are of two faces, and either face can emerge at any given time.  Not always too slowly, but surely there is a steady movement to the Democrat, Liberal, Left.  We continue to elect our two United States Senators, one far right and one far left.  One by Unions, Labor, Teachers and University intellectuals with the superior minds — the other, wins election by support of Farmers, Preachers, and Business, Insurance, and Banking execs.  And of course, don’t forget those with inferior education and redneck qualities.  Lots of us vote for both.  Anyway, the daily papers are filled with the pros and cons of gay marriage.  This spills over to the supporters and detractors of our new Administration.  Now that the government has taken over the banking, auto and insurance segments, most seem to be in favor, but hope they give them back after they get them fixed. Others believe we have already surrendered to Lenin and those that followed and our world is gone forever.  As for me, I don’t like gay marriage, but surely do not want to deny them any benefits  that they perceive they will gain from a marriage versus what they might have under a civil ceremony.  I doubt if we will see any great disaster from this decision, but do not understand why a little compromise might not result in an acceptable situation for all.  As for Obama, I feel he already is a great President.  That doesn’t mean I think he will necessarily be a successful one.  I am frightened by all that is happening and at the same time feel he just might succeed.  And I have always felt that our Constitution does not prohibit in any way, a little Socialism.  I suspect we may like it once we get used to it.  And nothing should prevent us from moving to the right and returning again to our greedy Capitalist ways if we do not like the Socialist style.

This gay marriage thing has presented me with another quandary.  I recently reached my 79th birthday (practically 80, and that’s 4/5 of a hundred).  I have observed that within my family and certainly many others, (our street is full of them) most wives outlive their husbands by some ten years or more.  Certainly I have been stressed as of late, because of the fear that good wife Pat (age 77) may not have much more than 10 or 15 years left.  That surely puts a crimp on my own expected life span.  Geeez.  Now the quandary.  Whatever is the answer for the gay marriage.  Will they be required to specify for insurance purposes which one will be expected to live the additional 10 years.  They do want to be just like the rest of us.  Of course they are not just like the rest of us, and so it goes.

While we are at it, I will just mention another situation that sometimes irritates.  While I want to care for our handicapped citizen companions, why is it we have to go so overboard in providing for their convenience that the rest are sometimes so inconvenienced.  The Hy-Vee (supermarket) seems to be 7/8Th’s handicapped parking.  I myself am just a hairs width of being a helpless cripple.  Not really, but kind of close.  Thus far I have refused to obtain a handicapped parking tag, likewise my nearly physically impaired good wife Pat.  Thus we end up parking in the next county and by then after I enter the market I generally have to take care of bathroom issues only to find that the formerly three stalls have been reduced to one wheelchair accessible stall, which is occupied (Thank you, Depends).  I have always said the kindest thing you can do for any handicapped person is to make them realize they are not just like everyone else.  Then they will learn to do things the very best way for them, and we surely will always extend assistance when needed.  It reminds me of the story of the King who did not like to step on pebbles when walking, so ordered the entire Kingdom to be covered with leather.  Fortunately, one of his aides suggested shoes.  Our government has covered the Kingdom with handicap conveniences, without considering shoes.

I will sign off in just a bit.  I do despair at the anger between our two political parties and those that profess to have all the answers from the far right and the far left.  I can’t take much more of the bickering between MSNBC and Fox.  The business channels report terrible economic conditions.  So I switch to the Science and History channels and discover that we have only three years left anyway.  The Mayan calendar ends in 2012 with many dire consequences, already beginning to appear in the form of global warming, expected hurricanes, volcanic, earthquake, and tsunami catastrophes.  Now the Mexican Swine Flu will surely be pandemic.  And if that isn’t enough, we still have Pirates the world over to deal with, not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  Or will we just run out of oil and gas or maybe food?

Before we all get out of joint at World Series time or when the Super Bowl rolls around.  Instead of them being brought to you by General Motors, General Electric,  AIG Insurance, or Bank of America, I’m sure they will be brought to you by your friendly United States Government, maybe at Nancy Pelosi Stadium on Barney Frank Field.    Love and Live the best you can.  Guess I am getting old just about the right time.  Good luck to all.  Have a good one.

More Bryson!

I am still somewhat wound up over my recent renewed interest in reading.  I reported in my last blog, of the circumstances that led up to this.  Because I enjoyed the book by Bill Bryson, and some of you also, were reading that book, and others of you had enjoyed other books by Bryson, I recently went to our public library to find more that I might read.  Of course I have already mentioned the problem I have with reading books, that I just can’t stay awake.  Never a fast reader, except perhaps during those periods during my education, by assignment or while seeking a degree.  I did enjoy History and Political Science as a student and teacher and the substantial reading that was involved.  However, for the past 30 years, there has been little accomplishment in book reading, even as I was occasionally urged by family and friends to read this or that.  Thanks again, Tim and or Merry for introducing me to the Bryson offerings, and to Julie for her suggested Internet pieces.

I do not want to exclude the fact that there are thousands of other good authors and interesting subjects out there to explore.  However, I may not get to them.  You shouldn’t press your luck with new book gifts or suggested reading.  For now, I am having too much fun with Bill.  The library revealed so many Bryson books that surely they will last me until my demise.  At 79, any extension of that event could be chancy at best.  The 250-300 pagers will be the favored selections, but I have already brought home a 900 plus pager which was mentioned as an enjoyable read by Grandson, Joel.  You all, no doubt, will be waiting with baited breath, to see if I am able to return it to the library in the specified lending time.

Bryson is primarily a travel author with travels and books from throughout the world.  However, it is his humor that I enjoy, but if one is not careful, they might broaden their knowledge about the designated subject.  His science endeavor, A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING, surely will not be filled with the humor that I have found in LIFE AND TIMES OF THE THUNDERBOLT KID, and A SUNBURNED COUNTRY, but who knows.  What little progress I have made in the 900 page History of nearly everything has been quite cleverly written and actually has enlightened me on subjects of interest in such a way as never before.  I have enjoyed the Science Channel’s studies of the origins of the universe and the two compliment each other.

Provided you are not put off by a modest amount of profanity and crude graphic description,  and I don’t think anyone I know is likely to be offended, I do believe one can gather a great deal of enjoyment from the Bill Bryson books.  I’ll try not to bring up the subject again.

Happy Birthday, dear daughter Julie.  What a month February is for our family.  So many birthdays.  It is not very nice of me to remind you that you are now half-a-hundred.   Does it feel like you have now lived 21 percent of the period from our nations founding in 1776 until now?  I think I did the math correctly.  Of course that makes me well over 3/4 of a hundred and having  lived over 1/3 of the time from 1776 if I did.   I just thought some of these facts surely could in some way be linked to your diligent genealogy studies.

Anyway, I can’t produce the outstanding tributes to ones birthday that you have been so successful in offering, but I do wish you a Happy Birthday and we love you very much.   I’m not too clever with the photo’s and such.  All I have, are  probably ones you have supplied me.  I especially like this one.

julie-1961

Happy Birthday and thanks for all you do for us

I recently was privileged to celebrate my 79th birthday.  Goodness, that in itself is privilege enough, but I was honored to have my daughter and son-in-law spend a few most enjoyable days with us.  My son and his wife were not able to be here but did send a gift of a book which I have found to be thoroughly enjoyable.

Now, I am not illiterate, but just don’t read many books.  Newspapers I read, magazines I try to read, and I search and read lots of things on the computer except when dozing off to sleep.  Books, no matter how interested I am, never get beyond three to a few more pages before I begin to nod.

My wife insists that I have no sense of humor, and I agree that we seldom find the same things that we think are humorous.  However, I have been fully captivated and have found this book of which I speak to be absolutely hilarious.  This is a must read.  At least for anyone born in the 50’s or before.  Now, it may have more comical effect for males rather than females, for those who have lived in Des Moines (or at least the state of Iowa) rather than elsewhere, but I think anyone and everyone would enjoy the book, even my sophisticated grandchildren who were neither born in the 50’s nor lived in Iowa.  I would concede however, that not having lived during that era, would diminish the appreciation of “THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE THUNDERBOLT KID.”

I began reading on Friday, and continued the brief periods of reading interlaced with nodding, dozing, and napping until completing the book early Sunday evening.  Also, to relax the developing eye strain, I would watch TV sports or news and then work soduko puzzles for awhile.  After all, we are talking 268 pages of paperback here.  Don’t ask me how I could be laughing so hard until my eyes watered, and then fall asleep, but that’s how it works. 

Bill Bryson is the author.  His father was Bill Bryson Sr. who was a very long time sports writer for the Des Moines Register and Tribune whom I read for many years before his death.  His mother also worked long time, for the R&T as well, as the home furnishings editor.  Thus, young Bill, with an older brother and sister,  was left to his own devices for much of his pre-adult years.  This is not unlike my own childhood, and the fact that nearly all of his recollection of the city of Des Moines and the state of Iowa are known to me, may make the details special to me.

There are sentences after sentences of hilarity in which I could barely contain myself.  Of the 14 chapters, probably 10 will keep one heartily laughing.  Then there are a few chapters, on more of a serious nature to describe disconcerting politics of the period.  Of course there is always other unpleasantness as well, and the final chapter is almost a bit sad.  One should be aware that the book contains some rather raucus description and that there is irreverance as well.  One may observe the love and respect he has for his parents, while also offering ridicule and disrespect as well.  Haven’t we all been there?

I always hated having to write book reviews, but here I am suggesting that you stop whatever you are doing and find this book.  Honest to God, you will laugh and enjoy.  http://www.randomhouse.com/features/billbryson/flat/home.php

It turns out that there are still good people around.   Another ugly news story took a “good feelin’ ” turn in today’s local newspaper.   A  rural elderly lady could no longer afford an automobile and the costs that go with ownership.  She did however, still posses a horse and buggy which she has been using for transportation and the hauling of groceries and other needed farm and home supplies.  Our weather has been cold and icy and her trips of several miles have been a hardship.

A few days ago, after shopping for groceries, livestock feed, and other needed supplies, she and a friend  headed for home. Two young boys jumped out from hidden bushes and spooked the horse.  Horse, buggy, lady and friend all were upended in a snow filled ditch, with all the newly purchased items scattered and sliding all over the ice covered ground.   The boys naturally ran away.  Concerned motorists stopped to help care for the occupants of the buggy and calm the horse.  Fortunately, there were no serious injuries and the salvageable groceries and supplies were gathered.  The damaged buggy was placed in a nearby storage facility and arrangements made to transport the horse back to the farm.  Helpful neighbors provided a ride for the lady and her passenger to their respective farm homes.

The next day she arranged a ride back to town, only to find the buggy missing.  The police were notified and thus the story appeared in the local paper.   Good wife and I were perplexed.   Who. how, and why would anyone steal a damaged buggy? 

Today’s paper reported happily, that good Samaritans in the neighborhood of the accident,  had the buggy removed to a repair facility and had hoped to surprise the lady.  Thus the mystery was solved and a very happy and grateful lady exclaimed that the world was good after all.  Yes, the horse is fine too.