|A Lesson Learned
March 3, 2009
Sam F. Kennedy
It was a Saturday morning during July of 1937, I was seven years old and had received permission from my parents to accompany my Grandpa Kennedy on his weekly shopping trip to �town�. �Town� was Pachuta, a sleepy little town in east central Mississippi, about five miles away. We lived in a community called Harmony. Grandpa made a weekly trip in the mule drawn wagon to replenish the farms pantry. Since Grandpa prepared for the trip and left at the crack of dawn, I had to cut short my sleep and get going early. He liked to travel in the cool of the morning. Mother awoke me early; she cooked me bacon, eggs, grits and biscuits and then I walked a mile to Grandpa�s house. He was about ready to go when I got there. He turned the smelly old kerosene lantern off he had been using and we were ready. He had a spring seat with a short back mounted on the old wagon. I opened the barnyard gate and he drove through and waited for me. I carefully closed and latched the gate under his watchful eye. It was big trouble if farm gates were left open and the cows and mules got out to roam the community.
I climbed in the wagon and we started out down the well cordoried gravel road towards town, Grandpa handed me the leather lines and told me I could drive. My only experience to that point was driving our mules�old Emma and Blue. Driving Grandpa�s mules made me feel real grown up. We had not traveled very far before Grandpa pulled the front of his hat down over his face and promptly went to sleep. I hadn�t planned on this development. Panic swept over me; all this responsibility! I braced up and kept things under control. We met a couple of cars and we pulled over to the side of the road so they could pass safely. We arrived in town and we pulled in to the back of the Martin Adams General Merchandise store by the old pecan tree and woke Grandpa up. Was I ever relieved! It was a successful mission and I was very proud of my accomplishment.
It wasn�t until a few years later that I found out that Grandpa always slept going to town, even when he was traveling alone. The mules were well trained to do all the right things including stopping for traffic and pulling in to the back of the store under the old pecan tree and parking. I was just a passenger!
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