News spread through the community. Fifteen year old Andy a severely handicapped boy had died and preparations had to be made for the funeral. Daddy and several other men had to dig the grave by hand. Daddy started for the graveyard right after breakfast in hopes that they would be able to dig the grave in one day.
Mom offered to send me to help with the preparations at the home since I was out of school and now considered to be old enough to participate when ever needs like this arose. Daddy dropped me off at Grandpa Masts house on his way to the graveyard then I could ride with aunt Emma.
Grandpa hitched his horse, Blaze, to the buggy and aunt Emma and I started off. It was a beautiful day and we had the doors and storm front open on the buggy as Blaze trotted down the road. It took a while to get there since there were numerous long hills that Blaze had to slow down to a walk to get to the top.
Once we finally got there someone came to take care of the horse while Emma and I went inside to help work. There was lots of things to be done. All the windows had to be washed and general spring house cleaning done. The hickory shop had to be cleaned out in order to set up enough tables for all the visitors that came to the funeral. There was loads of food to prepare and serve and pies to bake.
By evening we had done most of the cleaning and plans were made to come back the next day to help with all the food preparations. As Emma and I left I sighed with relief as I sank into my side of the buggy seat and looked forward to the long ride home. It shouldn't take as long since all the hills the horse had to climb in the morning were now ready for us to go down at a nice trot.
As we were ready to descend the first hill Emma pumped the brakes but nothing happened, so she drew back on the lines to slow Blaze down to a walk and we inched down the hill. The same thing happened for the next hills. We were no longer chatting as Emma focused everything on getting down the hills slowly without the buggy running into the back of the horse, or the horse stumbling. I began to think of the long steep hill that was coming up and wondered how she was going to drive down without having a panic attack since it was so much worse than any of the others had been. I didn't have long to wonder. As we got to the top of the hill she stopped the horse and asked me to get out and hang onto the back of the buggy to try and keep it from wanting to roll as fast.
I wasn't sure I had heard correctly but that was exactly what Emma wanted me to do, so I got out and grabbed hold of the springs at the back of the buggy and we started down the hill. We started off at a slow walk but Blaze soon picked up speed and the closer we got to the bottom of the hill the faster we went. I had never run so fast in my life. I clung to the buggy for dear life not daring to loose my grip and go tumbling onto the road. Taking huge steps it almost felt like I was ready to lift off and start flying since so much distance was covered with each step. My big black bonnet flapped crazily behind me held only by its strings.
Once we got to the bottom of the hill Emma stopped and I climbed wearily back into the buggy highly doubtful that the descent had been slowed because of me hanging onto the back.
Once I got home I told Mom and Daddy about my adventure and they made sure that Emma could use our little open buggy the next day with brakes that worked fine.