By Margaret Thomas – Special to the Navarro County Gazette

The Navarro County Youth Expo is just beginning for the 2021 year.

In earlier years, the Fair and Rodeo were held in the fall of the year, when farmers had just gathered their crops. It was held on East Highway 31 where all the factories are today, just as you crossed a low-lying area and a small creek. The grounds were beautiful with huge oak trees scattered around the area. A Rodeo arena was located there also, and they always had a carnival for everyone to enjoy. The show barns were ample for Commercial Livestock Breeders to exhibit their stock, plus ample room for young people to exhibit their FFA and 4-H projects.

I lived for this time of year and this event. I can recall the stop light onto Highway 31 east headed toward the show grounds, it would soon be stop-and-go traffic at night filled with families and visitors on their way to the rodeo, carnival, and the fair.

One year in particular always stands out in my mind. Neighbors Gene, Jimmy and Glendon Thomas (brothers) were taking their calves to the show grounds for the week’s competition on a Sunday afternoon. Their Dad owned a two-seated Jeep and borrowed Robert Davidson’s two-wheeled trailer to transport the calves to the show grounds. Mrs. Thomas asked me if I wanted to come along and of course, the answer was “Yes.”

Also invited along were cousins Sammy Joe and Barney Thomas. So Mr. and Mrs. Thomas were in the two front seats of the Jeep, then Glendon, Jimmy, Gene, Barney, Sammy Joe and me on the two benches behind them.

Everything was going fine until we crossed the City Lake Bridge. There is a small hill there with a second higher incline before you reach the top. When Mr. Thomas tried to drive up the first embankment the calves suddenly surged to the front of the trailer, causing the Jeep to rear up in the front and we were stalled. We could not move forward. After several more tries without success, Mr. Thomas directed Barney to sit on the front hood of the Jeep to help weight it down, therefore stopping it from rearing up and yes, we conquered the incline with ease.

The rest of the ride was smooth and once we got there they unloaded the calves, and got set up for the week. Meanwhile Mrs. Thomas visited with other parents around the area. When I would walk up to her while she visited, she never failed to introduce me, but never called my name, just “this is my little neighbor girl.”

To this day I cannot figure out how six kids could ride in the back of the Jeep.

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