Mom and I were wrapped in quilts and blankets, warm jackets and gloves to stay warm during our fall wagon ride through Lenora and The Big Woods.
Mom and I were wrapped in quilts and blankets, warm jackets and gloves to stay warm during our fall wagon ride through Lenora and The Big Woods.
It was the day after my aunt and uncle's anniversary party and my sister and two of her children, Tori and Timothy, were still visiting. While we had enjoyed a beautiful day for the party, the day after was cold and damp, a bit breezy and definitely not the kind of day I thought I'd be spending outside on a wagon, riding through Lenora and The Big Woods.

During my nephew's visit this summer, he helped my father build a wagon, which we call a "people hauler." It has seats on three sides with an opening in the back with steps to make accessibility easier. Now that it was finished and paint- ed, Timothy wanted to go for a ride.

While most of us decided it was too cold, he insisted we go anyway. While most of us were still ponder- ing the possibility, he was already outside hooking the tractor onto the wagon. As we looked out the win- dow and saw everything ready to go, my sister, my mother and I grabbed our warm coats, gathered up blankets and gave into my nephew's desire to take a ride.

My father climbed into the trac- tor cab, which is heated, and the rest of us climbed into the back of the wagon and tucked the blankets around our bodies and pulled our hoods over our heads to keep our ears and necks warm.

As we were leaving the yard, Mom and Dad's dog, Lucky, was invited to join us as well. For most of the trip he sat on the seats by us and watched the world go by. However, as the ride continued, he found a warmer and much more comfortable spot on the blankets pooled at our feet. At one point he was sleeping on my feet and I have to admit the body warmth he added was a welcomed benefit.

Dad took us on a ride through the valley toward Henrytown, past the former Fillmore County poor house and cemetery, through Lenora so the kids could see the oldest church in the area and down into The Big Woods. While it was a beautiful drive, the fall colors had not yet reached their peak. The same drive a week or two later would likely have been an amazing spectacle of color.

As Dad drove the curvy roads that led through the peaks and val-

leys of The Big Woods, I began to lose track of where I was. It's funny how disoriented one can get when riding through the backroads at a slower speed. It was also cloudy, so I couldn't use the sun as a reference point.

We went past a few farms I rec- ognized and then I got "lost" in the forest, simply enjoying the views of the farm land, the trees and the winding creeks. We saw very little wildlife along the way, but were "chased" by three young men in an Amish buggy, which delighted my niece and nephew.

As the trip continued, the cold started seeping into our bodies, infiltrating the wall of blankets and warm clothing. It was at that point when we all started feeling the need to make it home more quickly!

Finally, I started recognizing the landscape surrounding my family's farm and knew we were close. It was a relief.

Even though it was cold and I may not have wanted to go when the idea was first broached, I was very glad we decided to take the ride. We used to take similar rides in wagons pulled by horses, so I have to admit having our wagon pulled by a tractor was a bit of a dis- appointment, but only because it separated Dad from the rest of us. He should have been cold too!