Hiding From Time
Shootin’ It Straight
I am thankful to cruise up a new highway as I make the daily journey to London. I understand the need for improved roadways and the potential impact it could have of bringing economic growth to our rural area. I am anxiously awaiting the next tobacco store and dollar mart as I type. The new and improved roads are a reminder of a few things.
One reminder is that the world moves at a faster pace than I prefer. Any doubt of this is erased when my George Straight and leisurely pace is interrupted by a SUV piloted by a mom apparently late for her hair appointment blazes by me at Mach 2. Another more pleasant reminder is when I give a turn signal (on occasion depending on how close you have been tailgating me) to leave the beaten path and hit a side road. I’m reminded and thankfully so that some things seemingly never change. It’s not just the scenery but the people and seemingly life itself. Where I come from I believe that still shot scenes would disappoint the most discerning person seeking change in before and after photos. Time doesn’t stand still by any means evident by the lines in my father’s face and the wear on my body but it indeed slows down. By never changing I refer to a seamless changing of the guard in ways. Where one generation of stubborn old farmers and labors lay down the tools of the trade another cut from the same mold takes it up. I see kids with no intent of following in their parents or grandparents footsteps stray from what they know.
Then I watch in amusement as they rediscover sitting on the river bank fishing or the simple joy of walking through the woods squirrel hunting. Life sucks us all in. It’s inevitable but my treat in having the opportunity to drive a few miles back home and watch that hectic world fade in the rear view. My dad, my brothers and I would load firewood on a wore out truck until the front wheels was practically useless for steering on the way home. My father would then burn the last five dollars we had in gas to see how fast we could top out the hill on highway 578. Why? Just cause is still the only reason I know.
I should write personal thank you letters to every auto manufacturer. I owe them for making quality door latches. Door latches strong enough so that 10 year old me could lean on the window sill hanging half out a open window to stretch my hand out and let the grass growing along the ditch lines slap my palm until it stung. Life then was never more worrisome than what was for supper and praying mom didn’t use onions in her cooking endeavor. A bad day was only when night came and the bunk beds called.
I am glad for progress and don’t particularly enjoy leaving the county to work but a selfish part of me wants it to never change. I discover new music and sometimes secretly hope the artist never hits it big due to the probability of it altering their music. I feel the same with my home. I’m tolerant of the highways and new businesses but I resist embracing all it brings. I want my kids to feel the same freedom I did as a child. I want them to live unbridled. I like that some things never change. To this day I can loads the heathen up and tear down back roads that are unchanged since my youth. I can still point them out the old school and explain how we housed K- 8th grade in one building and still had home cooked meals. I can still turn them loose in the same creeks to catch craw - dad’s and skip rocks. It makes me smile to still be able to get a bologna sandwich and Grippo’s and drive past old man McQueen who hasn’t aged in 34 years seemingly. I still like buying used tires off local garages just because I can. I like the lights on the baseball field still burning and visible as I top Bill Johnson hill overlooking Annville.
I welcome change to a extent but ease it on me slowly. Like a Waylon Jennings song on a fading AM station as I sit on top of the farm years ago. “Life ain’t always easy living in a place where corn don’t grow”. I know time is undefeated when it comes to battles but my prayer is let it come slowly and let me be so crazy I don’t realize it when the old way is no more.