Way back in the old days, we not only had a small trucking operation and a gravel pit, but we also had a farm. Now, Dad was always trying to make things easier by using machinery, but Grandpa, (Pop), had himself a team of four Clydesdales, and he was well known in the local community for these horses and the way he worked with them. When Pop plowed a field, every furrow looked like someone had put a gunsight on it and pulling a wagon, he could make those horses do everything but talk.
The local fair was coming up in our town, and as usual, Pop was taking the team and wagon up for the parade and also for the horse and wagon competition, but we had a problem. Queenie had just had a foal, and he was only five days old when the fair rolled around, so he just had to go along with his mom and the rest of the team. Pop figured it would be no problem as I could lead little Star during the parade and hold him on the sidelines during the competition.
We trucked the team and wagon to town, harnessed the team, and they were all brushed and shining like a new penny when we started out in the parade. Little Star was fine walking along beside Mom until some idiot decided to let off some firecrackers just as we passed him. The big team shied a little, but with Pop’s steady hand on the reins and his quiet voice, they were quickly under control - but not the little guy. He shied, jumped and tore the rope from my hands
and then proceeded about fifty feet down the road where he caught up to the local high school band. Well, that didn’t suit him either, so he turned around and headed back and tucked in beside Mom close enough that they were almost one animal. Thinking quickly, I grabbed his rope and simply wrapped it into the harness of his Mom and stepped back. That was how they finished the rest of the parade, and it looked fine, but the little guy was really shaken.
After the parade, the team was unharnessed and got a full day and nights rest in the fair barns while Pop worked on his harness before the big competition the next day. It was quite a show with all the local horse people out with their wagons and teams. Everyone else had Percherons or
Belgians, and they were all magnificent animals, but Pop had Clydes. Now, these wagon competitions were quite a sight as you had to take your team through a set of pylons, down lanes, around corners and then back the wagon about twice its own length into a bay. Everything was going fine until about halfway around the course Queenie decided to give out a little neigh and Star took off into the ring. (I was preoccupied with a young lady). Well, Star sidled right up beside Queenie and followed her every move around the corners and through the gates, so I decided just to sit back and watch. Everything was great until the backing started. Horses, unlike cars and trucks, do not usually back up so this was new to Star, but I guess he figured if Mom could do it
so could he and he matched her every move as Pop directed the team and wagon into the bay and then as a show-off slapped them on their backs with the reins and ran them off the field. Needless to say, Pop won the competition, but the local paper had a picture of little Star in it stealing the show. Trucks and trucking are all fine, but sometimes I like to look back to where our trade developed and the horses and men that led us.