The Sled

My granddaddy who did some farming never had a wagon. He had an old stripped down Packard automobile made into a truck. He used a sled for hauling cotton, corn, and stuff like that from the field to the barn. He had a mule named “Tom” that he treated with a lot of care and respect. He would let me ride him sometimes, but he had no saddle and the rides were less than comfortable. As I think back, I realize Papa Greer cared a lot for me. He didn’t have much to spend on me but he made up for it in many ways. Besides letting me ride the mule, I could always count on him having made me some type of toy each time I saw him. It was usually something made from a corn stalk, a tin can, or an old tire tube. I remember a sling he made me. He said it was like the one David used to fight Goliath. I could put a rock in it and with a few swings around my head could send it sailing half the length of a football field. One of my prize gifts was a small light weight ladder about six feet long that let me climb up trees, look into the windows of the house, and investigate tall things. When we went to see him he always spent a lot of time with me. One time he let me drive the sled to go get a watermelon. When we got to the watermelon patch I had some trouble steering the mule and we rode over a terrace that threw me off as the sled went down across the watermelon patch bursting melons in its path. Can you imagine how he must have felt! But he came running to my side laughing and telling me everything was all right. His was a love I never understood until I became a granddaddy.