Sometimes the best thing you can do in life is pack your bags and hit the road. You have tried everything that you know and still, no one is happy with you. It was harvest time on the farm and the days were still hot. There had been little rain for weeks now and dust clouds engulfed the fields. Daddy said that I had to hand tobacco to the stringer. That meant long hours of standing on a wooden box under the tobacco barn.
That moment was the start of a lifetime love of the road. I knew then that I would repeat that moment many times over in the years to come.
I told him I didn’t want to do it and of course, he got upset and said that I shouldn’t live on a farm if I couldn’t do the work. I thought about what he said and decided that he was right, so I slipped away, packed my suitcase and headed toward the railroad tracks. The sun was beating down on the metal tracks and the heat shimmered from the steel, but I walked on toward town. I was determined and unafraid. That moment was the start of a lifetime love of the road. I knew then that I would repeat that moment many times over in the years to come.
I could see the dust cloud coming down the road from Daddy’s old Ford truck heading toward where I was sitting by the tracks. I was hot, hungry but not discouraged. Daddy got out of the truck with a sandwich and a cold RC cola in hand while Cookie jumped out the passenger side window and smothered me with Doggie love. Daddy sat beside me in silence for a while then said what I do may not be for you but for now, you must farm the land and learn its lessons. In time you will follow your own path but now we have a crop to get in the barn and a winter to prepare for, and I need you. Just remember that your time will come.
Point Of View
From the sun-kissed shores of the Carolinas, the frozen winters of Virginia to the dark swamps and bayous of Louisiana I loved the road. As I grew up the wanderlust drove me to play drums on the road for years, the highway songs playing in my head like an anthem for my life.
Now I am much older, and my song is sad with a sweetness of a life lived with a fullness, abundant with stories to tell, a liking for a front porch swing where I sit remembering the highways and byways of my youth. Yet every now and then I see a dirt road and wonder where it goes. I might even open the door to my old truck and ride a few miles with my old dog and see where the road might lead us.