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A story from the past about how times have and haven’t changes

Author: Kristy

Moving cattle, racing and prayer

A story from the past about how times have and haven’t changes

Transportation has changed over the years. (Wikimdeia)

by Estil Fretwell, Missouri Farm Bureau  |   April 30,2014

Dad would have tears in his eyes from laughing as he told the story of the day Roby and he were spared harm in more ways than one. I enjoyed hearing Dad’s tale of a time when farming was much different and of youthful foolishness that with age became humorous. Following is the story as Dad would tell it (with a few of my narrative embellishments).

We had just finished moving cattle about three miles into town to be shipped to market. Father – tall, slim and stern – told Roby and me that we could drive the cars back to the house while he and a neighbor would ride the horses. For two brothers barely teenagers, this was a special treat and a rare lapse of our father’s good judgment.

It was nearing dark, and Roby and I drove off in the Model Ts. Soon out of sight, we began to race. The road was mostly dirt, Roby was ahead and I was driving through blinding dust in one of the Fords. I popped up over a hill and barely saw Roby at the bottom standing by his car, frantically waving his arms. I slammed on the brakes, the rear wheels locked, gravel flew, but I couldn’t stop in time and hit the back of Roby’s stalled car.

No one was injured, but we were terrified knowing who would soon appear on the horizon. I exclaimed, “Roby, Roby, what are we going to do?!” Without hesitation, Roby replied, “I don’t know about you, but I’m going to pray!”

So when Father rode upon the scene of our insubordination, he found Roby and me on our knees, elbows resting on one of the car’s running boards, hands clasped in fervent prayer. No doubt we were saved that day from life-threatening punishment with our appeal for spiritual intervention.

Much has changed since the days of Dad’s story. Instead of farmers herding their cattle into town, large semis haul them from the farm to market. Horses are used more for pleasure riding than for working livestock. Cars driven around the farm have been replaced by pickups, Gators and Mules, and some of those dirt roads are now, thankfully, paved with asphalt.

But today, boys are still boys, mistakes are made and fathers can be strict, forgiving and funny. Growing up, whenever our family was facing uncertainty or trying to figure something out, one of us would sometimes remember Dad’s story and lightheartedly say, “I don’t know about you, but I’m going to pray!” Still good advice.

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