Transportation has changed a lot in my lifetime.
An old photo shows our family with a horse hitched to a buggy for only two passengers. I was too young to remember that.
O.D. and Nancy Meyers, my parents, bought half interest in a small Columbia dairy; they had a little boy 16 months old and a girl named Sue.
I was 2 years old when they borrowed money and bought an 80-acre farm east of Columbia.
We four must have been crowded in that buggy.
Dad’s first motorized vehicle was a 1917 Ford truck, manufactured as a touring car and customized by Clinkscales Co. to be a dairy delivery truck. It replaced his light-weight delivery wagon pulled by a shiny black horse.
Mom made snapshots of both of these vehicles - they are in "My First 84 Years" on Page 11.
The Ford couldn’t fully replace the horse that knew the milk route.
While Dad was at a customer’s back door pouring milk from his large "measure" into the lady’s pitcher, the horse moved along to the next customer’s stop and was waiting when Dad returned to the wagon to refill the measure. That’s all hearsay for me.
Imagine Dad - reared by his four half-sisters and father from age 4 - owning a 1917 newfangled thing like a Ford truck! His father came to stay for a month to take care of the dairy while Dad went to Sweeney’s Auto School in Kansas City for four weeks training!
That stretched into eight weeks because Dad took scarlet fever and was quarantined at Sweeney’s for another month!
However, he came home knowing all about operating and repairing his truck - a totally different machine from the farm equipment he had known quite well.
The thing I remember about that was Grandpa didn’t want any little kid bringing a quarter-pint bottle to the barn for warm, foamy milk.
A University of Missouri-Columbia student in agriculture named Gene Waters lived with us and worked in the dairy.
He’d often take Jim and me to ride in his motorcycle’s side car down our long farm driveway; then we’d walk back, and Gene went on to his MU classes.
Mom learned to drive the truck, and she’d take us kids and drive to Centralia to visit her parents and sisters. Once a month or more, we’d all go in the truck to see a Columbia movie.
There were two gates to open and close, and that became my job as we grew.
Dad was a frugal man, and he bought Mom a car - a new Model T touring car with cloth top, side curtains and front and back seats.
At age 9 I thought I couldn’t live without a bicycle, but I had to "make do" with old Jack, our three-gaited mule! I never knew anything about gaits until one day when a big black cloud rolled in with thunder and lightning.
We were near the house, but when a horrible noise shook the earth as a lightning bolt hit the ground, Jack suddenly headed for cover, and I had only the bridle and his wet neck to grab to stay on.
He headed for Dad’s blacksmith shop, and I barely got my face down in his wet hair to avoid being scraped off on that low entrance!
At age 9 I emptied my meager bank account, and my parents put up the rest of $39.50. I finally got the bicycle: Heaven could wait!