Horse and Buggy Ride in the Baltic Road

[slideshow]There would have been a time, long before I was born when an afternoon ride on a two-seater buggy pulled by a handsome horse would have been a desirable way to spend a leisurely Sunday. And today would have been the best; the temperature was hot but not too hot. A country breeze offered just enough coolness.

Well, I had the chance to step back in time, as I rode along with Billy Waller back through the fields of the farm formerly owned by Addison Livingston, or as my dad referred to as “Addison Livison.” I had grown up hearing about Addison who lived at the end of the Baltic Road, a man who was known to eat bread and molasses and lived well into his 90s without the need for electric lights. My uncle Arnold told me that when people asked Addison if he had been to Summerside; he replied, “Yes, I was there once.” He was a man who didn’t have to go far to find what he was looking for, as he already felt he had quite enough just where he was. Billy did say that when Addison was young, he went out to Western Canada to work on the farms which was common then for young men. Billy still has the antlers that Addison found in a western forest where he took a walk while the train was stopped. Addison kept them hanging on the wall of his home, maybe as a reminder of his young adventures and lessons learned.

Well, it appears that Addison may have lived up a long lane at the end of the Baltic Road, but his influence was strong and he was clearly well rooted to the point that he kept the original homestead where his mother had lived and given birth to his brother Spurgeon in the late 1800s. This may be one of the earliest homes in Clyde River and possibly surrounding communities. And, for a gentleman who was happy with what he had, he became a role model for those who have since created a community at the end of the road who can still enjoy the benefit of only being 15 minutes from Charlottetown. I think they have the best of both worlds.

We rode back along a path through the hay field to see Billy’s cabin in the woods by the stream and then back on the road and down a long lane to meet Gary Ladner who was happily enjoying a sunny afternoon in his larger cabin. Billy called out to him and he came outside to greet us.

What I learned today on my first horse and buggy ride is how much the horse can dictate things. I asked Billy who controlled the speed we were going and he said, “It’s a bit me and a bit of the horse.” Well, the horseflies were bothering the horse, so Sling Shot as the horse was originally named had a bit of an edge today. Our visit with Gary was cut short because of horseflies. As Sling Shot scurried along the dirt road up the hill from Gary’s, I couldn’t help but think how protected we are now with seat belts and impact air cushions. I had nothing to hang onto, so I just sent calm vibes to the horse hoping he wouldn’t make any unpredictable moves and throw me out in the bushes. I remember hearing stories about when cars first appeared and drivers had a hard time to maneuver turns because the horse always knew when to turn. Well, today, I was wishing I could put the horse in “park” as I ascended and descended the buggy.

Billy’s father had a great fondness for horses and delivered mail and farmed with horses when it was beyond the fashion of the day. Billy said that even after they had their first Envoy car in 1960, he harboured a boyhood wish to have his own horse and buggy one day. Well he does, and he has two Clydesdale horses as well.

I think the folks at the end of the Baltic Road understand the important lesson that Addison had learned so many years ago and that was to enjoy what you have. In fact, my Uncle Arnold told me what Addison said and that was,”Why would I buy anything new, because next year, there will always be something better.”

Thank you to Billy for this grand tour. I felt just like Anne of Green Gables and I shall treasure this day as much as my boat trip up the Clyde River.

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