A review of the story: My dad was walking around in Westphalia with a group of graduate students, surveying the German elements of the town, and by chance they saw a newlywed couple riding out of the church’s lot, not in a limousine, but on the back of a manure wagon, pulled by a farm tractor. (If you saw such a thing, you’d take a picture, too!)
I’d never heard of this strange custom, so I posted it on my blog, figuring someone could help explain it.
I also figured that it wouldn’t be long before someone would identify the couple for me, since we knew the place and the year (Westphalia, 1964), and, judging by the trees, that it was around the middle of October.
And sure enough! You all delivered, and the couple was identified! Elmer and Rita Bax—and they’re still in Westphalia!
So naturally, it made my day when I received the following message from Rita herself:
My sister sent me an e-mail from Albuquerque, New Mexico, showing me the [blog] “Spreading Joy in Westphalia, Missouri.” Yes it is Elmer and Rita Bax.
We were married October 17, 1964. It was 90 degrees that day. I was raised on a farm. So the manure wagon and tractor was our ride from the church to the K of C hall down the street. The hall is now Hilke Millard Funeral Home.
We live in Westphalia [and] . . . I will be cutting pies at the fall supper like you said.
I laughed when I saw the pictures. I had forgotten about the ride. I passed the information to our five boys so they could enjoy it too.
Our neighbor Paul Crede was driving the tractor. I called him so he could see it. I was 18 years old when I got married. Elmer was 22.
I will be reading your Opulent Opossum in the future. We enjoyed the pictures and article. . . .
Thank you for the memories.
Elmer and Rita
Well, there’s nothing much I can add to that, except that I’m definitely going to the Westphalia fall supper so I can meet the Baxes!
(And enjoy some of that pie Rita will be slicing!)