Thursday, June 09, 2005

DIRT ROADS and Other Bumpy Things

Tom Pry

To start this set, a friend of mine down in Louisiana sent me this little “think piece” by Paul Harvey, which I duly forwarded to Ernie Simpson (of whom more in a bit):

What's mainly wrong with society today is that too many Dirt Roads have been paved.

There's not a problem in America today, crime, drugs, education, divorce, delinquency that wouldn't be remedied, if we just had more Dirt Roads, because Dirt Roads give character.

People that live at the end of Dirt Roads learn early on that life is a bumpy ride.
That it can jar you right down to your teeth sometimes, but it's worth it, if at the end is home...a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog.

We wouldn't have near the trouble with our educational system if our kids got their exercise walking a Dirt Road with other kids, from whom they learn how to get along.

There was less crime in our streets before they were paved.
Criminals didn't walk two dusty miles to rob or rape, if they knew they'd be welcomed by 5 barking dogs and a double barrel shotgun.
And there were no drive by shootings.

Our values were better when our roads were worse!
People did not worship their cars more than their kids, and motorists were more courteous, they didn't tailgate by riding the bumper or the guy in front would choke you with dust & bust your windshield with rocks.

Dirt Roads taught patience

Dirt Roads were environmentally friendly, you didn't hop in your car for a quart of milk: you walked to the barn for your milk.

For your mail, you walked to the mail box.

What if it rained and the Dirt Road got washed out? That was the best part, then you stayed home and had some family time, roasted marshmallows and popped popcorn and pony rode on Daddy's shoulders and learned how to make prettier quilts than anybody.

At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted like soap.

Most paved roads lead to trouble, Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole.

At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car was in August, because if we didn't some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini.

At the end of a Dirt Road, there was always extra springtime income, for when city dudes would get stuck, you'd have to hitch up a team and pull them out.

Usually you got a dollar...always you got a new the end of a Dirt Road!

As happens with such things, Ernie sent it on to Cliff Wiggs, who responded:

Hey, this is good, and I sure-nuff can relate. I sometimes think of those old dirt roads, and riding that old schoolbus into town. It was so crowded you would have trouble getting another person on. People had to stand in the aisles, and when the bus started slowing down, they had to hold on for dear life, to the back of the seats.

Our last stop was at Annetia Gay's.

The windows would only go halfway down, but you had to let them down in the summer, and dust would just fog into the windows.

The law wouldn't let them stand in the aisles like that nowadays.

Even after 36 was paved, 305 was still dirt, and full of chugholes.

My first car was a 54 Plymouth. Stick shift naturally, and it would idle in high gear, at 12 m.p.h. No problem.

Tom again

Now, a couple of other notes.

Highway 36 -- soon to be four-laned. They've already poured a sidewalk that goes out all the way to Honey Hill Road .. AND the Searcy City Limits sign now resides just west of the gas station there at the corner of Honey Hill and 36. I certainly could've used that sidewalk back in the late summer of 1953, when I was walking into town for summer band practice!

The summer of 1955, when our phone was still a New Thing, Annetia Gay was my sanity's salvation. She and I never, ever went out with each other – but, that summer, we spent an awful lot of time together on the telephone, among other things trying to shock the silent little old lady who listened in on every conversation on our eight-party line.

She was also my Early Warning System. Her position at the beginning of Hwy 36 let her eyeball my mom or dad on their way home, so I could get busy doing the things I had supposed to be doing the rest of the day.

Anyone know whatever happened to Annetia? I had no contact with her after graduation in 1956.

I began this piece by promising something new about Ernie Simpson the other day. Well, last week was his birthday, and his friends at Hytrol threw a party for him.

We have a picture, and I’ve got to prepare you for it. Ernie’s been undergoing some treatments of late that have made his already-sparse head of hair even MORE sparse so, last week, he bit the bullet and had his wife, Shelia (yes, folks, that’s the correct spelling), go ahead and shave the rest of it off.

Interesting effect, and I MUST share it with you.




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