Old Dirt Roads…More like Gravel

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There was a long gravel road down to Granny’s house and over to our house which later became Uncle Larry’s house.Not just the small gravel wrapped in the fine dusty grey dirt but the big sharp white rock pieces that could split your knee cap open when you fell from your bike. I did split my knee cap open a few times and elbows and palms of my hands. It was all good, because I loved that road. It was like freedom to me being young but having somewhere to travel, somewhere to go and explore for the day. I loved my life, but wasn’t aware that not everyone had a road to play on that was only traveled by grandparents and other extended family members. Sometimes a group of “church folks” would come a “visitin’.” But the majority of the day that road was mine. I didn’t know it then, but I do now.

We played for hours upon hours upon hours along that road. We raced up to the Highway 51. I wished it could have been 100 Highway. Everyone talked about that Highway. It was curvy and people had died on it. It was famous, but no, we just lived next to Highway 51. Who knew that someday that road led to where I live now for most of my big kid and adult days. My Uncle who never left Adair county lives down that highway, up and down a few hills from where this road to Granny’s was, where I spent these growin’ up days. We knew better than to get too close to the Highway, but up to the edge was fair game.

As you came down the road you could stop at the trailer house that was once an Aunt and Uncle’s house for a bit, then another Aunt and Uncle lived there, and maybe a cousin that wasn’t married yet, then I can’t remember from there the many inhabitants of that first stop.

Next you passed a cottonwood tree to the right down a slope to the burn pile. We spent many an hour stopping by the side of the road to roll down the hill. We didn’t care about ticks and chiggers. Finding them was the mom’s and our Granny’s job at the end of the day. The grass was cool and plush with clover. No real stickers like here in the red dirt part of Oklahoma where I live now. Never found a four leaf but I sure looked a lot. Made chains with them too. Necklaces and bracelets and wreaths for my hair. I don’t remember being taught how to make them. We just did it.

Farther down the road it branched off. If you went straight you would end up in the Grandfolks driveway next to a Rose of Sharon bush. I loved the smell of the blooms and the pretty flowers that budded. Now I wish I knew who planted it. It meant a lot to me growing up. I’d jump off the front porch or pull other crazy shenanigans from the height of the front porch and run smell the Rose of Sharon blooms. That’s just what I did over, and over and over.

Now here is where the road curved a bit and led to the house where we lived for a few short pieces of time. Then my Uncle lived there and put up a fence. It never looked the same after that. But out in front of that house was a sun lit field. It looked big then. Now, not so big. We played ball in that field and sometimes church folks would come over and play a round of softball. Well, I was little and just remember watching wondering if I’d ever get big enough to play.

We rode bikes down that road and up to the highway and back and marched and skipped mostly barefoot. I don’t remember wearing shoes ever as we went back and forth, back and forth until time for supper. We lived outside and on that road. I have many memories of that time.

I went back a few years ago to see it after my family’s land next to the junk yard was sold where these houses stood after Granny and Granddad had passed. The road wasn’t really a big road like it had seemed when I was 6. It was more of a very long curvy driveway, but it had been full of wonder and learning and jagged rocks. What do kids that age do now while growing up? Where do they spend their time? I was blessed. Most of my best memories came from an old dirt road.

Let’s Walk & Talk

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Today was similar to my bike riding kind of days. Yesterday there was rain. This pic was taken a while back. After a ride there was time to fly a kite. The days are nice and long now that May has passed. Relax is a word that comes to mind when I ride with no angst. If all days could be enjoyed like these moments the world would know peace.

Angst is conjured up with my thoughts around scheduled events. I can have an evening event to attend and the hours leading up to it will feel laden with tension around my thoughts about attending the event. What to wear, what vehicle has enough gas to transport me, will there be any scheduling issues, will the humans I reside with (who haven’t communicated all day) decide to unleash their thoughts and ideas 5 minutes before departure, or will I have to let the dog out one last time before I leave and clean up the cat hairball vomit before the dog gets to it. And on, and on it goes if I allow my thoughts to get the best of me. Do those things happen often? Yes, but do they have to torture me? They do if I let them.

I love to read and I surf the information highway as often as I can. I am an information junkie. My reading these past few days have brought me to reflect on my blessings as a way to calm the mind. Deborah King encourages people to journal and list the good things that the day brings and Spirit or God allows us. I grew up singing “Count your many blessings, name them one by one,” so, this is not a new concept. It is, however, one I look forward to doing like a bedtime ritual. My thoughts around counting or looking for the blessings of the day like one would hunt Easter eggs, some in broad daylight others behind the stumps, has brought me to my bright idea. Not a new one to the world, but one I realize I am ready to pursue during my Walk and Talk Time at the lake.

It showed up as I walked along the lake’s water edge. Why not ask people to meet at the parking lot by the playground and walk with me to the large stones about 20ish minutes south to meet for at least 10 minutes of gratitude? “10 Minutes of Gratitude!” What a great idea. It takes 20 minutes to walk and contemplate the blessings they want to share, then 10 minutes of gratitude at the stones as a type of silent meditation, followed by 20ish minutes of sharing the blessings walking back. There is power in like-minded mindfulness. The scriptures say, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst.” Matthew 18:20 KJV

Why would this not bless those that make time for it? It is a win-win event. Blessings are always a great idea. Are you in? Leave a message here or contact me on Walk & Talk Time FB page or  Twitter to schedule a time. Let’s Walk and Talk! It’s Time!