Last week Frederick had the honor of hosting a couple from Kalamazoo, Michigan. They had made arrangements to tour the Abernathy Boys exhibit and statue. John and Nancy had studied the Abernathy Boys and knew quite a bit about the boys. Their connection to the Abernathy Boys came through their volunteer hours at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan which is near their home.
Nancy explained that the Gilmore museum started out as a hobby for a retired man and turned into 90 acres of different types of cars: Cadillac, Ford, etc. One of the sections of this huge museum contains Brush Automobiles, the same car that Bud and Temple Abernathy drove home from New York City. Because John’s volunteer duties included teaching young students about the science of cars in hopes that they would become interested in science, he had studied the Abernathy Boys as another way to entice the students. His research, of course, led him to learn about Frederick and the museum we have available, thus, on their way to California for Christmas, they stopped by “as the highlight of their trip” to see the Abernathy Boys exhibit and statue.
After chatting with Nancy extensively about her family history and mine and how America has melted into a very accepting country of many nationalities, John announced he was ready to see the exhibit inside the Big Red Barn. Once inside, we pushed the button and I listened with John and Nancy to the story of the Abernathy Boy’s most famous trip: the one to New York. We heard about them meeting the Wright Brothers, driving a train, seeing one of the first automobiles and sitting in Mr. Rockefeller’s pew for Sunday service. It was amazing they said, to think of all the things these boys did before they were even ten years old. In fact, Marthea said the boys did more before age ten than most of us do in a lifetime.
I told Nancy of the Chamber’s tagline: “Where the Adventure Begins” and how the saying refers to the Abernathy Boys. She then told me that she and John had been to every state except Alaska and Hawaii and how they were planning a trip along Highway 2 to do so. She also talked about their trips to Europe.
After a while we simply stared at the map while John took dozens of photos. The longer I stared at the map and all of the routes the Boys took, and the more I thought about their adventures and how so many interesting people began their adventure in Frederick, Oklahoma. It really is a great place to begin.