Enjoying the long way home through Chilton CountyBy Stephen Dawkins Published 8:59am Monday, July 1, 2013
I was given the most wonderful opportunity recently. I took the long way home.
The northbound freeway had about a 40-mile construction delay and I knew for certain that I did not want to be a part of it. I had gone to a memorial service deep into Chilton County and needed to find another way home.
When I was much younger, my dad would grin and say, “Wonder where that road goes?” and we would go exploring. So, I turned left away from the highway, navigating not by GPS but by instinct, keeping the sun to my left as best I could. I traveled down country county roads, some that I remembered from childhood and others I am sure I never knew existed. A few were dirt and led nowhere.
What a fantastic trip! There were ponds shimmering in the sun and sheds filled with rolls of hay from last fall’s cutting. Green pastures were occupied by a variety of livestock. The beans were almost ready for harvest. I passed a myriad of churches whose long ago congregations had been compelled to name themselves after New Testament locations.
Turning into downtown Clanton, I was disappointed to find that the Dari Delite had been closed for quite a while. I then chose another road and followed the railroad tracks for a ways, remembering how much fun it used to be to count the train cars as they swayed along the tracks. Once or twice, I passed over the freeway again and noticed the cars were moving along slowly but steadily. I was not tempted to change course.
I put some extra miles on my car this day, used a few gallons of gasoline and took twice as long to get home on the route taken. I learned an important lesson along the way. I should do this more often. It was an exhilarating ride! I lost my dad many years ago. But today, I could almost feel him nudge me from the passenger seat and could almost hear him say, “Hey, Lu, wonder where this road goes?”
Both my mom and dad are in heaven, and I know for sure that I will see them again someday. Until then, I’ll just take the long way home for as long as I can.
Becky Roberson, Birmingham