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Bob Skelding - Two Worlds Collide
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Feb/12/Bob_By_Wagon_Ready_4_Walls.jpgwww.wagonteamster.comWagon teamster, Ron Dakotah, once told me, after I asked him about the perils of traveling by horse-drawn wagon on modern roads, “…I don’t have time to worry about what is coming from behind me, I’ve got my hands full looking at what is ahead of me…”When I told Dakotah of the collision where a semi-truck hit the rear of Bob Skelding’s wagon in Mississippi, he wept. “…I told you these people drive too fast and don’t pay attention to what they’re doing. What a sad end to those fine horses; it just makes me cry. We (those on the road) can’t worry about what might happen; otherwise, we’d just have to sit on a porch somewhere and not go out.”He went on to say, “I don’t know how many times this could have happened to me over the last twenty-six years; and I don’t think about it. When I started this journey it wasn’t a big spiritual thing, it just evolved into that. I have learned to ‘live’ my faith, not talk about it. So many people just ‘talk’ about their faith, but don’t ever step out in it. If you have faith, you have to show it. And everyday I hitch my team up is an act of faith”When I spoke to Bob Skelding two weeks ago, he had just crossed into Mississippi and was deciding on which route to continue; either further south, or east to the coastline.Bob Skelding was enjoying the celebrity that comes with driving a team of horses at four miles an hour, but didn’t seem the kind of person who sought celebrity and had the grace to accept those who came alongside him.Bob and Dakotah also shared a common beginning to the “Journey of a lifetime”. Both men had just come out of an unsuccessful relationship and wanted to think things through or get a “do-over” as Bob once said.Gene Bonner, an over-the-road trucker and former Deputy Sheriff, was driving his truck northbound on U.S. 45 between Meridian and Columbus Mississippi around 11:30AM on the morning of February 10th.It was a partly cloudy day with good visibility. Gene was one of three trucks on the road with two trucks from the T.K. Stanley Company directly behind him. Gene stated, “I saw Bob’s wagon up ahead, so I signaled-left to pass him. The truck behind me did the same, but as I watched in my rear-view mirror, I saw what looked like an atom-bomb go off when he (the third truck) hit Bob’s wagon. It was a sight”http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Feb/12/wagontankercollision1.jpgPhoto by Scott Boyd of the Macon BeaconGene pulled to the side of the road as quickly as he could and approached a group of people who had gathered alongside the road. “I saw Bob lying in the ditch, and I asked if he was still alive and they said ‘he’s dead’. I asked if anybody had gone over to him to see, but no one had, so I went over to see for myself. I felt for a carotid pulse and he had one, so I stayed with him.Gene went on to say; “…just about the time I felt for a pulse, Bob woke up and asked ‘what happened’, so I told him. The first thing he asked was how was his horses and about his dog, Clementine”Gene then brought his dog over to Bob so the two of them could be together. Gene said, “The dog was sitting all by itself in the middle of the debris just shaking, so I took him over to Bob until the EMT’s arrived. Then I took the dog to my wife so our Vet could take a look at him. The Vet said she was in pretty good shape for a sixteen year-old dog, all things considering.”Gene told me that, aside from Bob being unconscious, his only other visible wounds were some abrasions and cuts that would need some stitches. “…it was pretty miraculous that Bob didn’t have more or worse injuries”Bob is recovering from the injuries he sustained from the accident last Tuesday; the extent to which has not been released. I spoke to Sgt. Cain, of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, this morning and he reported that Bob was doing much better and was expected to recover fully.Bob’s sister, Cathy Fagan, is at his side today. She is, at this writing, with a member of the Mississippi Highway Patrol visiting the accident site.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Feb/12/IMG_9733.JPGRon DakotahThankfully, it appears Bob’s journey will continue; however, in what form or destination is unknown. As life is lived one day at a time, and with our eyes fixed firmly to the road ahead, what was once our physical journey, is transformed into our spiritual journey if we answer the call.Drive on, Mr. Bob Skelding.