Richard Bostwick Reminiscences

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Welfare Office Stories
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Cab Driving Stories
The Way It Was - 1930
The Gambler And His Gal 1927
The Last One To Know 1926
Just A Couple Of Hustlers 1925
Cash On Delivery 1923
One Born Every Minute 1923
Fun Is Where You Find It 1923
An Ace In The Hole 1922
And A Little Child Shall…
Gold Tooth Murphy
Aiding And Abetting 1929
Buried Treasure 1927
The Good Samaritan
Just A Country Trip
The Prodigal Son
Occupational Hazard
Four Bags Full
Overtime Pay
Above And Beyond The Call
Fourth Down And Ten
Let There Be Light
Take It Or Leave It
Double Or Nothing
The Champ
Three Of A Kind
My Silent Big Spender
N.P.R.R. (Northern Pacific Railroad) Mr. Moody


Prohibition Stories
A Little Competition
Some Did Burn
Last Words


And A Little Child Shall…

It had been cool and raining all day, which had afforded me a good days sleep, so I was well rested for the busy night which I knew lay before me. Us cab drivers always welcomed inclement weather, which was sure to increase the volume of our business. On this particular evening as I reported for work all of us drivers were given very implicit orders, “Don't go off of the pavement.” You see, this town in which I was driving cab was located in the Red River Valley of the north, which was predominately made of clay soil. This soil, when wet, was better known to the inhabitants of the area as “gumbo.”

All of the streets within a few blocks of the downtown area were unpaved. After a heavy rainfall such as we had that day, the roads were practically impassable. We were further told that if any one of us did go off the pavement and got stuck, we would have to pay for the towing out of our own pocket.

Along about 1:00 a.m., I was dispatched to an address on the south side of town. As I approached the address, I realized that it was about 60 feet beyond the end of the pavement. Now, the proper thing for me to have done would have been for me to park my cab at the end of the pavement, walk down the sidewalk to the given address, and inform my fare that their cab was waiting for them at the end of the pavement. But no… being a little lazy as well as a bit over confident in my ability to drive on muddy roads, I slipped it into 2nd gear (in those days there were no automatic transmissions). I proceeded along, slipping and sliding along in the main rut in the center of the street.

As I reached the driveway leading to the address, I gunned my motor a little as I swung up into the driveway. I touched my horn and soon a woman and a little girl came out of the house. The little girl was about 10 or 12 years old. The woman said, “I would like to have you drive my babysitter home.” In the mean time the girl had scrambled into the backseat of my cab. The woman paid me in advance for the trip. I closed the cab door, shifted into reverse gear, backed down the driveway, and cramped my front wheels in hopes of hitting the rut that would take me to the pavement. But luck was not with me, for I missed the main rut and became stuck. I shifted back and forth from low to reverse again and again, but my wheels just spun in the slippery gumbo.

When I was about ready to give up and call my dispatcher and take the consequences, the little girl in the back seat spoke up and said, “Can I help you mister?” She then volunteered to drive if I wanted to get out and push. I never would have taken the chance, or have believed she could drive, until she said her daddy had taught her how to drive. It was a long shot, but I was desperate, so I helped her up into the drivers' seat and told her to hold the clutch pedal down until I hollered. Then, to let it out very slowly as she stepped on the gas. I then put my shoulder to the back of the cab and hollered for her to let the clutch out as I pushed with all my might. The cab slowly started to inch forward, and slipped into the main rut and continued forward.

My feet were weighted down with several pounds of gumbo and I was unable to keep up. I said to myself, “My God! I wonder if she knows how to stop!” But that kid had more brains than I had given her credit for. She kept right on going until the cab was well up on the pavement. She then stopped, jumped out of the cab and hollered, “How'd I do?”


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Updated: 7/30/2007