The Runaways

The Runaways

From A 6th Bowl of Chicken Soup for the Soul

The Runaways

One winter morning the year before I started school, my dad came in and asked if I would like to go with him to feed the cows. That sounded like fun, so I dressed in my warmest clothes, including the mittens connected by a string through the sleeves of my jacket, and went out with my dad to take my place in the world of work.

It was a pleasant morning. The sun shone brightly, but it was cold and the ground was covered with a blanket of new snow. We harnessed the team, Babe and Blue, and went over the hill with a wagon full of hay. After we found the cows and unloaded the hay for them, we started home. Then my dad came up with a good idea. “Would you like to drive?” he asked. And I responded in typical manly fashion. I like to drive anything: cars, trucks, golf carts or donkey carts. I think the attraction must be the power. There is such a sense of power to be in control of something larger than I am, and it’s good for my male ego.

I took the lines from my dad and held them looped over my hands as he had shown me, and we plodded back home. I was thrilled. I was in control. I was driving. But the plodding bothered me. I decided that while I was in control, we should speed up. So I clucked the horses along, and they began to hurry. First they began to trot, and I decided that was a much better pace. We were moving along, and we would get home much faster. But Babe and Blue came up with a better idea. They decided if they would run, we would get home even sooner.

The horses went to work on their plan and began to run. As I remember it, they were running as fast as I have ever seen horses run, but that observation might have a slight exaggeration factor built in. But they did run. The wagon bounced from mound to mound. As the prairie dog holes whizzed by, I concluded that we were in a dangerous situation, and I started to try my best to slow down this runaway team. I pulled and tugged on the lines until my hands cramped. I cried and pleaded, but nothing worked. Old Babe and Blue just kept running.

I glanced over at my dad. He was just sitting there, looking out across the pasture and watching the world go by. By now, I was frantic. My hands were cut from the lines, the tears streaming down my face were almost frozen from the winter cold, stuff was running out of my nose and my dad was just sitting there watching the world go by.

Finally, in utter desperation, I turned to him and said as calmly as I could, “Here, Daddy. I don’t want to drive anymore.”

Now that I am older and people call me Grandpa, I reenact that scene at least once a day. Regardless of who we are, how old we are, how wise or how powerful we are, there is always that moment when our only response is to turn to our Father and say, “Here. I don’t want to drive anymore.”

Cliff Schimmels

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