Sunday, July 15, 2007

Where Do All the Roads begin?

Today Tom and I went out to pick up a few things at the dreaded mall. On the way home he started to make our usual turn. I said “no go straight, there is something I want you to see”. After driving a few miles the road came to a dead end at what looked to be an old county club. All the buildings are boarded up but they have put in a walking track around a beautiful little pond, it winds through what appears to be an old golf course. Tom did not even have to ask how I found the place, he knows about my fascination with roads and knowing where they go. When I was a little kid one of my constant questions to the adults around me was “Where do all the roads in the whole world start”. Every time we piled in that old 1950 Ford pickup I would wonder out loud if we were going to pass the place that all the roads started. Yes, I will be the first to admit that this was a strange obsession for a small child but I was always a bit strange. Finally one day my Uncle J. B. took me for a walk down the dirt road outside our house. We came to a small road in the middle of a corn patch we ventured only a few yards when the road stopped. It ran right into the corn field! Here is where my uncle told me “all the roads in the world started”.
This was enough to settle a 4 year olds mind. We lived on top of Sand Mountain in Collinsville Alabama and I had never been further than Gadsden. My world was pretty small so the fact that “all the roads in the world” started right down the road from my house was easy for me to accept. I would go to that very spot a few times a week and revel in the fact that all the “roads in the world” started right where I was standing. Then one day we went to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Memphis, Tennessee. I realized that there were a whole lot more roads in the world that I had ever imagined. And, I guess you could say I have been looking for the spot where “all the roads in the world start” ever since. When the kids were small and I decided to go down a road just to see where it went I would tell them we were on an adventure. They would always sing out “That means we are LOST”. I have to admit sometimes we were lost – but for the most part we would find something new and exciting to look at.
I would love to tell you that at my age I have out grown the desire to turn down roads in search for “where all the roads start” but I have not. Given the opportunity to do so I can ramble for hours on back roads. Yes, sometimes I get lost. I will tell you a story about one such time – this happened less than 2 years ago.
I had been looking for a new puppy and had settled on a Papillon. Little did I know that they are a bit hard to find. I located a breeder just south of where we live. I made an appointment to visit I had checked the directions several times and felt I would have no problem locating her home. I did pretty well until I got to the place where the “hard road” stopped and the gravel road started. I thought she said take the third drive on the left – but as I would later learn it was the third “hard” drive on the right. So, I am riding along talking on the phone as usual and made the 3 turn on the left onto what appeared to be a dirt drive – I had only traveled a short distance when I realized that my bug was not moving. The wheels were turning but I was not going forward. I got out of the car to discover that my VW Bug looked like a giant turtle stuck on a rut with all it legs dangling in the air. I tried everything within my power to move the bug, I put rocks under the wheels, I drug downed tree limbs and tried to stick them under the wheels to get traction. All was to no avail. Why didn’t I just call Tom – are you kidding – Tom would not learn about this until months later. I had no idea what to do so I walked back out to the main “dirt road” I meet a guy in a old pickup truck and he agreed to see if he could pull my bug off of its current resting spot. Long story short his truck would not budge the bug. He told me to wait and he would go home and get his tractor and a logging chain and he would pull her off. Shortly I hear the putt putt of an old John Deere I look up to see possibly the oldest tractor I had ever laid eyes on. The old guy turned the tractor and started backing towards the bug – then he yelled “Scotch her, scotch her, I don’t have any brakes”. Thankfully I had grown up in the country and knew what “scotch her” meant. I grabbed one of the downed limbs and threw under the tractor wheels just before the tractor reached the bug. He hooked that logging chain on something on the underside of the bug climbed back on hid trusted John Deere and snatched my bug right off that rut. Everything was fine – we checked for oil leaks and there were none. God was laughing at me once again but in the end He was there. Mr. Tallis and I talked for a long time, turned out that he was born on Sand Mountain and knew my “folks”. We shared stories about the good old days and parted friends.
If I had not made a wrong turn that day I would have missed the opportunity to meet and share stories with someone I never would have noticed. Sometimes we get so caught up in our “lives” that we forget to take time to enjoy all the things around us that God has put here for us to enjoy – SO He creates a detour for us. Most of the time I create my own – but on occasion The Big Guy throws one in. I will continue to go down roads that I have never traveled – who knows someday maybe I’ll meet you!Yes, I did find the ladies house and yes I did buy a Papillon from her. Now if I could just remember where she lives I would take this spoiled brat back to her. Toby has no idea he is a dog!

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