Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Westward ho, city girls!

Packy, my grandfather whose home we shared, worked at Martin's Furniture Store in Springfield, Missouri. He did a little light carpentry, assembly mostly, and he delivered furniture to customers. Sometimes my grandmother picked Packy up at lunchtime, but some days he drove home in an empty delivery truck.

If he was driving the big van, he'd have to park it on the street. My sister and I would climb up inside it and jump around a little bit, but we grew bored pretty quickly in the van, and it was hot in there, too. The other truck was way better.

The second truck was larger than a pickup but smaller than the furniture van, so my grandfather could drive it right up into the driveway and park it under the shade of a nearby tree. There were wooden-rail "fences" along each side of the truck bed, and before Packy could get in the house and sit down to his lunch ("dinner" we called it then), my sister and I would climb the rails and straddle them. They were our horses: beautiful stallions with flowing manes and tails.

We rode miles on those horses during summer lunch hours. We crossed prairies and deserts, watering our horses at streams along the way. We encountered stagecoaches, goldminers, train robbers, and sheriffs wearing big tin stars. Shots were fired sometimes, but we were the good guys, and we usually survived our injuries. Luckily, our trail always turned homeward just in time for Packy to go back to work.

When I think about those days, I can still smell the summer dust and the little-girl sweat, and I can almost hear the strains of the radio music that filtered through the screen door and provided a fitting soundtrack for our adventures. Click on the video link and ride with us for a while.

MUSIC VIDEO: Ghost Riders in the Sky - Vaughn Monroe (1949)
LYRICS: Ghost Riders in the Sky


  1. Velvet, What a sweet, sweet post! I can just picture you girls and your beautiful horses!

    I just chatted with a friend from back home and we were both commenting on dinner being the mid-day meal.

  2. Those were the days, eh? My bicycle was my horse.

  3. I loved that song when I was a kid! My mother used to sing it for me if I begged her long enough. Nice memories! Camon

  4. CreekHiker, I hadn't thought about it before now, but back when we called the three meals "breakfast, dinner and supper," it was still "lunch" that I carried to school each day. Odd.

    Janet, I can see how a bicycle could make a great horse. Unfortunately, I was so clumsy that when I rode my bike, it took *all* my concentration just to keep it upright.

    Carmon, I'm glad to know someone else remembers that song. I think it must have been the theme song to some radio program my grandfather listened to at lunchtime, because it seems like I heard it every single day at the same time.


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