As I drove down through the countryside, during one of my "ever so often" daydreaming moments, I realized that I was off course and began to panic as nothing looked familiar. I must have made a wrong turn or two. Lost, I looked for anyone that might steer me in the right direction.
I approached a dirt road and noticed an elderly man sitting on his front porch. "He should know the way," I thought. So I pulled into the driveway and walked up to the front stoop where he was sitting. I told him of my dilemma and where I was headed.
He paused and with his crooked smile he asked, "Are you sure that's where you're trying to go?" "Oh yes sir. I'm pretty sure of where I'm going." What a strange question. And at that moment, a feeling of uncertainty came over me about where I was headed. Did he know something I didn't?
With his deep graspy voice he began rattling them off. "Well, you start off by going just about a mile or so down here," as he pointed to the main road. "Just around the first bend, you will take a left at the big old oak tree. Then there will be a fork in the road. You can take whichever side hits you, for they both lead to a mighty fine place. There's a patch of rough road further up. Just take it nice and easy and you'll be able to get through it without a problem. About another 1/2 a mile or so, the road might be closed but there's a detour. Might take a little longer but it'll get you where you need to be." As the man continued to rattle on and on, I could not help but think it was the strangest set of directions I'd ever heard. Maybe this is the way they do it out here in the country.
"If you get hungry stop by the cafe. It's about the halfway mark. Lots of good eats and conversations happening there. Not too far after getting back on the road there is a long stretch where you can cruise for quite a ways. It's a great place to turn up that radio of yours and belt out your favorite tunes. Be sure to roll those windows down and let the wind get ahold of that long hair of yours! After a couple of songs and you're re-energized, you'll need to slow down. Just past the gas station, look for the first turn to the right or left. Take that turn." Puzzled, I asked, "Which one? Right or left?" "Either," the man replied. And with no hesitation, he continued on, "Just be on the lookout for signs, they will help guide you. By this time, you might want to get out and stretch your legs. Take some time to stop at around mile marker 111 and take in the sites there. The view is breathtaking..."
As I listened to the man continue the rather complex and peculiar directions, I realized I was more lost and confused than when I first walked up to him. I politely interrupted him, "Excuse me sir, but I believe I'm going to have to get you to repeat all of that as I write it down."
"I don't believe that will be necessary," The man said with a twinkle in his eye. "For my dear, there is no right or wrong way to get where you are going. You really don't need directions. You see, you can't get lost. For you already have a compass leading you," he said as he pointed to his heart. "Enjoy the drive and be sure to take in all the sites and sounds of the countryside. For the ride is just as important as your destination." I stood there with the man for a couple seconds taking in the directions and advice. We smiled at each other, as no other words were exchanged.
As I pulled back out on the road and sped away, I cranked my windows down and turned the radio up! A big smile returned. It was time to enjoy the ride!
If you enjoyed reading this piece, you might enjoy The Day in the Life of a Trailblazer's Shoes and Southern Summer Memoirs.
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