Cummings displays special sleigh for all to see

Published 11:00 pm Monday, December 23, 2013

About 20 years ago, Bob Cummings bought a one-horse open sleigh at an auction in Florida.

What a sleigh was doing on the sand dunes of Florida, Cummings had no idea. How he was going to pull the sleigh over the red clay fields of Southeast Alabama, he didn’t know.

Cummings decided that the best thing he could with the sleigh was put it in cold storage.

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And, that’s exactly what he did … until he had a very clever idea.

What if? What if, he hitched the sleigh to his 1929 Model A Ford and asked Santa Claus to pull the sleigh with the red, white and blue roadster.

“I bought the Model A Ford from a school teacher in Ohio,” Cummings said. “People had tried and tried to buy the car from her but she wouldn’t sell it. One day, I was talking with her and asked her how much she paid for the car. She said that she bought it brand new for $450.”

Cummings asked the schoolteacher what she would take for the Model A Ford.

“She said that she would have to double her money,” Cummings said. “I said, ‘Do you mean that you would take $900 for this car?’ She said she would and I bought it on the spot.”

The car was painted black and the chickens had scratched the fenders sliding down. But overall, Cummings said the car was in Model A-1 shape.

He had no plans for the car until the country was gearing up for the Bicentennial Celebration.

Cummings rolled out the vintage automobile and spruced it up for the celebration.

He painted it red, white and blue, and it was a showstopper.

Since 1976, he has rolled out the patriotic-painted roadster on occasion and people have stop to ask about it and admire it.

Everybody from north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line could have a reason to be interested in the red, white and blue Model A Ford. But the sleigh being held in storage was a different matter.

“A lot of people in south Alabama probably have never seen a sleigh,” Cummings said. “And, they probably don’t know much about one except that Santa Claus comes on one.”

With that thought, a light went off – the “What if?” light.

So, Cummings hitched the sleigh to the red, white and blue car and Santa Claus filled the sleigh with toys for all the good little boys and girls.

“It’s Christmas and I wanted to bring back the way it used to be,” Cummings said. “There was a time when people actually stopped to help others. If their car was broken down, someone would stop. If a man needed money, someone was there to give it to him. That’s what the Man Upstairs wants us to do. He wants us to help others without expecting something in return.”

That’s what Christmas is all about. That’s what this Model A and sleigh are all about.

The display is Bob Cummings’ gift to those who travel the busy U.S. 231 Highway.

He asks nothing in return.

It’s Christmastime.