One of the quaint activities to be found in North Lewisburg and surrounding communities has always been the traditional hay rides. These events were normally held in the fall, when the night air was crisp, the moon was full, and the path clearly visible to the driver. In the old days, a sturdy team of horses was hitched to a long, wooden wagon upon which was piled fresh hay. Youngsters, teens, and adults climbed aboard the wagon, well-bundled up against the cold night air and carrying blankets for additional comfort. The driver slapped the team into motion, and the wagon with its precious cargo moved down the old gravel roads for a night-time excursion among the hills and valleys which surrounded the old hometown. Often there was a dance associated with the hay ride, either just before or immediately after the trip. Even if not, the sounds of music and laughter accompanied the team and wagon as it lumbered along, the voices of the kids and the adults mingling together in the joy of camaraderie. They sang old time favorites, or modern tunes - whatever struck their fancy as they plodded along the roadway. Melodious voices were merged with those of folks who could not carry a tune in a bucket - but it was all in fun anyway, so the choral attributes of the participants didn't really matter.
As the years passed, and as horses became less and less associated with modern times, the teams were replaced with tractors - gas-powered and eventually diesel-powered. The big Case, or International, or John Deere machines moved along effortlessly, the noise of their engines adding to the lulling, steady pace of the trip. The big mounds of fresh hay were replaced with bales of the fodder, stacked atop the wagon bed with ample seating areas provided for the wayfarers. There were quiet, shadowy areas where the more romantic types could sit and whisper expressions of affection and love.
Often, the drive through the countryside passed nearby or over some haunted feature of the landscape. There were to be found trips across the notorious "Cry Baby" bridge - located between North Lewisburg and Cable - for example, occasionally timed to coincide with the old traditional times associated with the tragedy which had supposedly occurred there. At midnight, people cupped their ears and craned their necks while attempting to hear the mournful cry of the baby which had perished there when dropped to the railroad bed below. Sometimes the folks who had arranged the hay ride had already designated someone to wait in the vicinity of the bridge and issue that "cry" as the hay wagon approached. This often had the desired effect upon the females, who snuggled even closer to their male companions.
Romances blossomed, or died, along the way. Some of those young couples were later to become engaged, and eventually married. Others were to part company shortly after the trip ended. Memories - some sweet, some bitter - were to forever become associated with the scent of hay, and the allure of crisp, autumn nights.