Gainesville Daily Register
By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
ERA — Mary Ruth Kindiger celebrated her 98th birthday in style Sunday by taking a ride in neighbor Harold Bowles’ horse-drawn buggy to the cheers of family and friends.
The beautiful July day was only eclipsed by the smile on her face when Bowles drove up to pick her up in his new buggy drawn by Duke, his buggy-trained five year old dapple gray percheron colt.
“When I was at my daughter Gail’s home, I saw her next door neighbors, Harold and Cindy Bowles, out for a drive and told my daughter that I would give anything to ride in that buggy,” Kindiger said.
Bowles heard about her request and plans were made to surprise Kindiger at her birthday party that was held at her daughter’s home west of Era.
“Duke was trained to pull a buggy or wagon in Kansas,” Bowles said. “Even though he is only five years old, he is so calm and accommodating. We love to take him out for a spin, especially with all the grandkids piled in the wagon.”
Not to be out done by grandkids, Kindiger confidently climbed up into the “courting buggy” as Bowles called it and off they went fulfilling her birthday wish.
“I don’t know how we will top this next year,” daughter Gail Knight said. “She really is enjoying herself.”
It was not the first time Kindiger had ridden in a buggy but a lot of water had passed under the bridge since she was five years old and a favorite uncle would drive her around in a buggy pulled by a sorrel mare he affectionately called Mary Ruth in her honor.
“My mother died when I was little and my Dad raised me and my siblings by himself,” Kindiger said. “He was a good father and always had something at Christmas for each of us. My uncle would sometimes pick me up in his buggy to go visiting and off we would go,” she recalled.
Kindiger said that she could not remember a specific birthday that would top this one but she had many memories, some good and some bad in her 98 years. Two world wars, talking pictures, telephones, television, a man on the moon and the computer are just some of the world changing events she has lived through.
“All in all, I have come full circle I guess,” she laughed. “I started out in a buggy and here I am once more going buggy riding again.”