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Ben Sauter, a character, in his own words

"The Sleigh Ride"

I consider myself fortunate to be one of the few Marylanders still alive to have driven a one horse open sleigh.

This happened about 58 years ago [about 1954]. At that time, I was working on my mother and father's farm. But I was living in my house on the same farm about a half mile away.

I would get up early in the morning and go up to the farm house and help do the morning chores. This consisted of feeding the cows, horses, hogs and chickens. After feeding we cleaned the cow stable, horse stalls and pig pens.

After doing these things, we milked the cows. Then took milk up to the farm house cellar. The milk was put through a cream separator, which is simply a centrifuge, spinning the milk so fast that the cream is separated from the skimmed milk and each comes out separate spouts.

I ate breakfast with my Mom & Dad.

Nothing much doing on a farm on a day with about 4 inches of snow and still coming down. Though not extremely cold.

Then the idea came to take a sleigh ride. The sleigh was hung from the rafters in a garage so we could drive under it.

So I got it down.

Then I harnessed one of the horses and hitched him to the sleigh. I skipped the sleigh bells for fear of spooking the horse. He was a little on the the wild side. I drove to my house and picked up 2 of my kids, Diane 4, Susan 5. Jane, my wife, came out with a camera and took a couple of shots. She was so enthused that she had one put on our Christmas cards.

Sauter Christmas card, 1955.
Sauter Christmas card.
Susan, Diane and Sharon with Benton in sleigh.

Now where to go? Let's drive over to our friend's farm about a mile away, The Hideys. The driving was nice on packed snow. We stopped on the Hidey's driveway near their back door. I couldn't leave this horse to rap on their back door so we just stood there for a few minutes hoping someone would come out.

What do you think happened next? The horse had an "accident" right there on their driveway. Can you imagine their looks when they 1st saw this?

We made a hasty exit and drove back home.

All this driving and we we never got upsot.


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Written Dec 9 2011.

Helpful keywords not in the main text: benton sauter; jane sauter; susan sauter; diane sauter; sharon sauter; jingle bells (did you catch the reference?)