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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Paths (05/17/04)

TITLE: Journey Down Life’s Paths
By B Price


One morning, in 1986, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my newspaper in hand. While reading through the paper, I came across an article about the Texas Sesquicentennial Wagon Train. Texas was celebrating 150 years of independence from Mexico.

I made a statement under my breath. John asked me, “What was that you said?” I answered, “Oh, nothing.” John never accepted the answer “Oh, nothing.” I repeated my statement, “Oh that sounds like it would be so much fun, I would love to do something like that.” He then said the words, which I never expected to hear, “Go for it!” I was shocked; no one had ever encouraged me in anything I ever had an interest in.

I didn’t have a clue how to find out more about the Wagon Train. John told me to contact Mr. Hancock who wrote the article. I had never done anything so bold before. I felt that Mr. Hancock might not want to bother with little ole me. Mr. Hancock was thrilled that someone took an interest in his article. After he gave me more information, I knew I had to sign up to become a part of such an important event.

This was the first time that I realized even though people may have differences; we can also be alike in many other ways. I felt my path in life was beginning to take a very exciting new direction.

John and I had just started dating. We both had a country flair and loved everything that had a Western theme. John was also very proud of his ancestors and that he was a seventh generation Texan. We knew that being involved with the Wagon Train would be something that we would really enjoy. We made the decision to catch up to the Wagon Train every other weekend.

The first weekend that we were going to catch up to the wagon train, I packed everything in John’s little red Chevy Luv pickup, then drove 277 miles to Tomball, Texas. We arrived during the middle of the night and had to sleep in the truck. To this day, when we look back on those days, we don’t know how we were able to sleep in the cab of that little truck.

The next morning, what I saw took my breath away. The wagons were encircled just like they were in all the Western movies John and I loved. I found out later there was 120 wagons. As I was walking among the wagons, I was brought to tears for I felt I was reliving part of our Texas history. I began reflecting on the people’s lives that made their way to Texas so long ago. I realized those pioneers endured so many hardships and made so many sacrifices to travel their new paths of life. They knew the trip could be dangerous, but it was a risk they were willing to take to get to what they believed was their “promised land.”

I soon learned there were families on this wagon train that also made sacrifices. Many wound up having their families split apart because they were doing something that they really believed in. They felt it was very important to show honor to their forefathers and all the trials they endured. There were people from all over the United States who were celebrating the accomplishments of their forefathers on their new paths of life.

As the morning wore on, we watched the Wagoner begin their daily routines of taking care of their animals and preparing their breakfast on the campfires. I felt I had been transported back to the 1800's and were watching their forefathers on their dusty paths of life.

This was more than I ever dreamed possible. I began falling in love with this mystic way of life. I knew I had to try to be a part of this unique way of life by hitching a ride in one of the wagons if only for a day or two. I wanted to experience a piece of history and in so doing, honor my forefathers who came to this great state. This path was such a learning experience filled with excitement and sadness. We knew we were making memories that would last us a lifetime.

Over the next six months, I took my Camp Fire group with us many times. I wanted them to be a part of this important experience. Five years after the Wagon Train ended, many of the people who had been involved with the Wagon Train got together for a reunion. John and I took this opportunity, on a beautiful ranch, to have a true Western wedding.

It is memories such as these that I cherish in my heart. I never pass up an opportunity to share my experiences; with my grandchildren or any other person I meet, of how I started a new path of my life.

Member Comments
Member Date
Marie B. Corso05/24/04
Your article was so interesting. You gave us insight into a unique experience. I did wonder if you ever got to ride (you hinted, but I wasn't sure) and what that was like. I'd like to know how uncomfortable it was. How many miles did they travel in a day?
Lynne Gaunt05/24/04
You have some good descriptions of your feelings about this experience. I could picture the wagons in a circle. Keep up the good work.
Dave Wagner05/25/04
I enjoyed the material, though it is difficult for me to relate, being a native Southern Californian. Sadly, I could probably relate more to a large group of dudes riding their skateboards a few miles down to the beach or some such...

Be that as it may, I appreciate your enthusiasm. The only thing I might recommend is cutting down on the use of the phrase "path of life," since it gets redundant after a while, and doesn't give the reader enough credit for being able to remember what the topic is.

I hope you find many other cool things to do and write about. I look forward to your next submission.
Mary Elder-Criss05/25/04
Definitely interesting read. I would have liked to have been there as well. Gotta echo Marie's question...did you ever get to ride on the train? Inquiring minds want to know!!
L.M. Lee05/26/04
the Dixie Trail ride comes through my area occasionally. they have a "dinner" time when visitors can come. always enjoy it.
Leticia Caroccio05/27/04
Interesting and informative. Your storytelling talents painted a beautiful of picture of a simpler though difficult time in our history.

It flowed smoothly and you were true to the topic of the week. Nicely done.
Patrick Whalen05/27/04
As a former Civil War reenactor I can appreciate the emotions you felt in this experience. Many if not all of us take for granted all the hardships experienced by those who went before us. Can you imagine being a Christian in a land filled with pagans? Wait, hmmm…I guess some things never change ;)

* - Some minor grammar and tense issues
* - On topic
X - There were a few areas that paragraph structure could be corrected
* - This was on the longer side but I enjoyed it
* - This was right up my alley!
Naomi Deutekom05/27/04
Your story is very interesting. Why not use your historical background and experience to write some historical fiction???
Deborah Porter 05/27/04
What a wonderful experience! Good on you and John for getting involved. I really enjoyed reading about your experience and the impact it made. Have to agree with one of the other comments, in that some paragraphs need a bit more breaking up (Particularly where there is a lot of speech happening). But it was a very enjoyable read. With love, Deb