A Country Road Took Me Home
My childhood home was a farm on an infrequently traveled dirt road in western Arkansas that had been in the family for a couple generations. When my oldest sister started dating, my parents and her boyfriend/future husband joked that for the first time in its history, that road didn’t have grass sprouting in the center of it. He claimed that his frequent visits singlehandedly had eliminated the middle-of-the-road growth.
I don’t know if there was an ounce of truth in that claim, but one thing I know for sure was that traffic past our house was preciously infrequent. We knew the sound of every “regular.” The mailman came around 1:40 and again about four minutes later. Mrs. Nash, our nearest neighbor, had a daughter who visited once a week. She drove an orange Volkswagen Beetle and we could hear its familiar “puutt, puutt, puutt,” coming from afar. Mr. and Mrs. Dees drove past daily to check their cows. Very literally, those were our road’s regulars. Anyone else passing aroused our curiosity.
My younger sister and I shared a bed. If we heard a car coming, we promptly rose to our knees to look out the window to watch it pass. On Friday and Saturday nights, teenaged boys who had been “across the line” (meaning they had left our dry county to imbibe across the Oklahoma state line) unknowingly received our judgmental stares as they passed by. We were sure they were on our backroad to avoid the law and we certainly didn’t approve.
Several days ago, work took me down a road that very much reminded me of my childhood home’s country road. I passed a farmhouse with children in the yard, and they stopped their play to watch me as I passed. I felt their curious stares until I was back behind the trees. Immediately I was taken back in time. I recalled how my siblings and I stopped whatever we were doing to try to ascertain who was passing and why. I smiled as I recalled my childhood curiosity when a car happened by. Rightly or wrongly, I felt I knew the emotions of those kids who stopped everything to watch me pass. Part of me wanted to stop and tell them I was a realtor going to look at a piece of land, and perhaps try to sell it. And then I wondered if any of those cars that passed my watching eyes as a child were realtors appraising potential listings. I surmised that it was possible.
If you happen to be on a very infrequently travelled road, and you see a strange car leaving a trail of dust, have you ever considered that stranger may be a realtor? I bet not. But I’m here to tell you, it just might be. Even more specifically, it just may be me.