….. and people are still talking about the magical moment when the creatures sauntered down Cedar Street. After witnessing the beasts making their way to Old Abilene Town, you realize that the old saying “like a bull in a china shop” must be false. The longhorn were in town to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first load of cattle shipping out of Abilene after migrating northward on the Chisholm Trail. They were paraded through Old Abilene Town and up a chute into a cattle car pulled by a steam engine. It’s hard to get a more authentic experience than that.
I have a confession to make. I was not at this year’s celebration. My family and I were at parent’s weekend at the Air Force Academy and cloning myself for a weekend is still in the realm of science fiction. However, the photos, videos, and first hand accounts I have heard make me smile with wonder of how it must have sounded, looked, and smelled. I enjoy history because it’s not just stuffy research in an archive or rusty artifacts people have forgotten how to use……. it’s being able to be a witness of or participant in a reenactment and for a short time convincing your mind that you indeed are in the mid-1860s. It’s about the lives and souls that came before us and what we can learn from them. It’s role playing as a bystander to the events that unfolded 150 years ago in the same place you are standing. It sends chills down my spine.
When I walk the streets of downtown Abilene, I look at the brick and mortar lining the streets. I see windows that people hung out of during Eisenhower’s arrival at the Sunflower Hotel. I see school boys running out of Luebbe’s Drug Store (now Trapp Pharmacy) with penny candies. I see a mother and daughter stepping out of Pinkham’s or a new car rolling out of the Cruse Motors showroom onto NW. 2nd Street.
I wonder if 50 years from now people will talk about the longhorn cattle on Cedar Street back in 2017. I wonder if they will look around themselves and sense their own place in history. Our place in history is today, so let’s fill it with memorable events in Abilene.