Before My Time

Fourth of July Parade in Cumming, Georgia

Fourth of July Parade in Cumming, Georgia

My bride and I recently attended the Fourth of July Steam Engine Parade in Cumming, Georgia. I’ve wanted to go for a number of years, but usually managed to forget about it until July fifth. This year, we made a special effort. I now consider it as one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ events, which is a kind way of saying I don’t plan on going next year… or any year thereafter.

Thankfully, the local Lions Club passed out ear plugs prior to the start of the parade. It wasn’t long before we realized how much we needed them, although it took a little longer to determine why the drivers of the old steam machinery felt it necessary to blast their steam whistles as they inched their way past us.

They were going downhill and trying desperately to keep their machines from picking up speed. The only way to slow down a steam engine (that doesn’t have very good brakes) is to let off steam. An old friend of ours, who was there with his wife and children, told us that one steam tractor lost its brakes last year and the driver had an extremely difficult time avoiding the vehicles in front of him. If you look at the wheels on the tractor pictured above, you can see they’re made of steel and are not meant for fingertip control and precision handling on corners.

Steam tractors were definitely a thing of the past when I was a child. As we watched them lumber past us I couldn’t help thinking about how much they revolutionized farming. Prior to the iron beasts, farmers relied on oxen, horses, and mules to pull the plows and other farming equipment. As I mulled those thoughts in my mind, I was given a dose of reality when the vehicle in the next photo came into view.

Is this a 1947 Ford?

Is this a 1947 Ford?

I’m guessing at the year and make of this truck, but I guarantee I was around when it was new.

Seeing vehicles like this bring back so many memories. I find myself wondering about the original owners. Did this truck always belong to the Thomas Lumber Company? Did someone else use it to haul produce to the farmers’ market? How many different owners has it had? Was it ever abandoned and left rusting until someone found it and restored it?

I have similar thoughts when I spot abandoned houses along back roads. I wonder what the dwelling looked like when it was newly completed. Was it built by a young husband so his new bride and he could have a place of their own? Did they add rooms as babies came and the family grew? How many Thanksgivings and Christmases were celebrated in their humble home that seems so tiny by today’s standards? Did the occupants sit around the radio listening to FDR tell the country about Pearl Harbor?

I passed this house earlier today. I came home, got my camera, and went back to capture the image.

An old abandoned house

An old abandoned house

It’s not much, but for some family many years ago, it was home. Can you imagine what the original inhabitants would say if they saw me take the picture with a digital camera? Of course, I could’ve used my cell phone. That would have really impressed them!

Now that we’ve taken a good look at the past, imagine what my newest grandson, Daniel, is going to think about digital cameras and cell phones when he’s in his sixty-fourth year of life. We’re amazed at how much things have changed during our life times. I don’t know about you, but it makes me wonder what’s next?

By the way, if you recognize that truck and I’ve mistaken it for a 1947 Ford, please leave a comment and correct me on it. Thanks.

We blew past the 2,000 visit mark yesterday afternoon. Again, my sincere thanks for spreading the word about this site.


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