John Steward of Jesus
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Grandpa's Trip to Market

(Written in 1958, as I remembered hearing it from Grandpa)

In 1925, when my grandfather was living on a farm between Sioux Center and Maurice, he had eight large sheep and two calves which he wished to market in Sioux City. Great-Unc1e Henry, the neighbor, consented to haul the livestock to Sioux City in his Model-T truck.

Since all the roads at that time were mud and thirty miles per hour was top speed going down hill, Grandpa and Uncle Henry left at 4:00 a.m. Uncle Henry was proud of his equipment, and the first thing he said in his Yankee-Dutch was, “De truck lope fine,” meaning that the truck was running well. Grandpa asked him if the truck had good tires. He replied that they were in good condition. Grandpa sat back and hoped for the best.

After more of Uncle Henry’s boasting they arrived safely in Ireton. The road between Ireton and Merrill was very hilly and the truck could hardly make it. While going up one steep hill the calves and sheep went to the rear of the truck. Since the rack on the truck had been extended back, the weight of the livestock pushed the front end of the truck off the ground. Grandpa and Uncle Henry climbed from their perch and tried to get the truck back on four wheels, but could not. A nearby farmer came and pulled them up the hill.

Even though his truck ran “fine,” Uncle Henry had taken along two gallons of oil for safety. He added oil every five miles, and long before they arrived in Merrill the two gallons was gone. But he continued and when they arrived in Merrill two bearings had been burned out. They were delayed several hours while the bearings were replaced. When this was finished they resumed their journey and arrived in Sioux City at three o’clock that afternoon, eleven hours after they had left home. Even though it was late, a commission man was found and the stock was sold.

Immediately after the sale they began their trip home. Seven miles from Merrill a rear tire blew out. The spare was put on, which blew out one-half mile farther. They rode into Merrill on the rim and both tires were repaired in the same garage where the bearings had been repaired.

When they left Merrill again, it was pitch-dark. The truck had no lights, so Uncle Henry hung a kerosene lamp on the radiator. Grandpa told him to go through Lemars, so they would come through more towns. Finally at 1:00 a.m. they arrived home, and Grandpa’s twenty-one-hour trip to market came to an end.