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lifetime In last month’s Health and Family magazine I wrote about my 1948 Pontiac but I forgot to mention the first car in which I rode. I’ve told the story about my first car trip several times over the years in my Humble Reporter column, but educated types who read this sophisticated publication probably can’t decipher the Anglo-Saxon dialect I use in my column. I’m getting old. I’ve seen a lot of changes in my time. But the more things change the more they stay the same. When I was growing up threequarters of a century ago there were a lot more horses than cars. History repeats itself and today there are still more horses’ posteriors than tail pipes, but space in this article is insufficient to name names. Seriously, cars were relatively rare in my day. As a child, we would sit in the front yard on a hot summer night and listen to an occasional car as it drove down the Lebanon pike about two miles across the field and through the woods from where we lived. We were so far away from the pike that the wind had to be blowing in the right direction before we could hear the sound. A car couldn’t make it up to our house. We were on a lane leading off a county road about a half mile away. A branch ran across the lane down in a low place a couple hundred yards below our old log house. In the wintertime, the road was so miry a horse would sink to its knees. No way could a wagon or car get across. In the May 2013

summertime, ruts were so deep in the lane it was still almost impassable. So, you see, there wasn’t too much traffic past our place. The only thing we knew about a car were pictures in the mail-order catalog and sounds from Lebanon pike. We hardly ever saw a living soul. The closest neighbor’s house was a mile and a half across the field. I used to run inside and get under the bed when I saw somebody coming. My first ride in a car was almost by accident. I don’t remember exactly when it was, but we had moved to town after Daddy got a job as janitor at Campbellsville College, now Campbellsville University. A professor at the college had bought a farm and wanted a cow. My brother and I were standing out in the front yard when this college man came to get Daddy to go with him to pick out a good cow. He was driving a spanking new Model T; I believe it was a 1940 model. My brother was probably about 12 or 13 and I was 10 or 11. Neither of us had been out of Taylor County, and Taylor County is not nearly as big as Pulaski County. The college man looked at Daddy and then at us and asked if we wanted to go. I looked at Brother and he looked at me, not knowing what to do. “C’mon, get in,” said the college professor. We did. Brother and I crawled in the backseat. Brother got in first. He was the oldest and probably the bravest. I didn’t look out. I was scared out

of my mind. I didn’t know whichaway we were going. We were flying down the road. I didn’t know anything could go that fast. I thought the end had come. The car finally stopped. We were parked near a field and the college professor and Daddy got out and started looking at cows. Brother got out of the car, but I wouldn’t budge. I just sat there. I was shaking all over. I found out later we were in Larue County. I had never been that far from home. Brother and I never said a word because we didn’t know whether folks in Larue County talked the same language. To make a long story short, the college professor, with Daddy’s help, picked out a cow and we all came back home. That trip was a lesson learned. Now that I’m as old as I am, I still don’t like going fast. I get nervous when telephone poles fly past me. I was driving down the road the other day. I had the pedal to the metal, or so it seemed. I’ll bet I was going 35 miles per hour. You know what? Cars were passing me like I was sitting still. No wonder we have so many wrecks.

Bill Mardis is Editor Emeritus of the Commonwealth Journal 19

Southern Kentucky Health and Family, May 2013  

Southern Kentucky Health & Family Journal is a publication of and is distributed by Newspaper Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of...

Southern Kentucky Health and Family, May 2013  

Southern Kentucky Health & Family Journal is a publication of and is distributed by Newspaper Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of...

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