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My First Powered Vehicle
Sam F. Kennedy Jr.

 

"Old Johnny" and Cart A Sketch...My Best RecollectionOne of my earliest childhood memories was when my father bought me a two-wheel cart with a large gander to pull it. I don't know how old I was. A neighbor, Mr. S (I can't remember his name) a teacher, got a job in a town some distance away and had to sell all his extra possession to simplify his move. He had constructed the cart and harness for his son. I don't know where the goose came from, but he has large white animal named "Old Johnny". My father paid a dollar for the combination� sounds like a good deal but dollars were scarce back then and worth lots more than today.

I don't know how Mr. S had trained old Johnny, but he could be controlled with a long stick. You pushed Old Johnny's neck in the direction you wanted him to go and he would respond. I don't remember how you got him started or stopped. I remember we had to clip the feathers on his powerful wings because it could be a disastrous if he tried to fly while pulling the cart. I do remember that Old Johnny didn't like to be harnessed, so it was a major job to get him harnessed. I suppose the arrangement wasn't too practical because it took full time adult management to keep things under control. The cart was small and would not haul a very large kid, but it was big enough for me at the time.

I soon lost interest in the cart operation and my father got some additional geese to keep Old Johnny company. Geese were valuable to keep grass out of cotton when it was young. They loved crabgrass and other young grasses, but disliked cotton plants. This was good�. However, they loved young corn even better than crabgrass. So it became my job to "Sheppard" the geese to keep them out of the cornfield. Eventually Old Johnny's wing feathers had grown out and one day in late fall, several large flocks of wild geese passed over heading south for the winter� loudly honking as they flew by. Old Johnny decided he would join the voyage. Leading a formation of all our geese, Old Johnny took off. They got about 300 yards before they became completely exhausted and all did sort of control crash landings. They returned home after a little while marching in single file, with a "maybe we'll have better luck next year" expression on their faces.

That next spring Old Johnny must have eaten something poisonous. Possibly it was just old age� Old Johnny died. Gone... but not forgotten.








 



 

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