For a long time there, I really enjoyed driving the roads of central Maryland. I used to go all over the countryside, enjoying the sights and sounds of the road. I suppose one day I’ll get tired of talking myself out of doing the driving, and go for broke, the way I used to do when I was younger. Whenever that sort of thing happens, Maryland and Virginia can look out. I’d go back home, to see some old, familiar places, like taking a little summer’s drive, if only doing so for a few hours of time.
I can see it all in my mind’s eye now, the way it should be. Scoring a Virginia driver’s license, I’d rent a car every now and then, to keep my costs down. I’d be doing some local driving, trying to get my bearings in my new neighborhood. I’d like to take myself to get me some St Louis ribs, find a new overland route to China in my travels, I just betcha. I’ll obscure my project from my brother, who’s such a worry wort. He doesn’t want anybody to do anything around him. It’s too risky, he says.
He’s over-protective as a big brother, and is too certain his little brother is incompetent.
I’d drive, and tooling around locally, to get my sea legs under me about this town, then bite the bullet and head off North. I’d take the highway, and travel back to those old, familiar roads back home, carrying a night-time, and morning-time dosage of my medicine, along with me, along with a pair of pajamas and my med’s. I figure, how wrong can I get, with only two doses of medicines to take? I’d get a motel room, and indulge myself in some driving up around home, where I know the roads so well.
I’d go just were my little old heart desires, and soak up some fresh country air, with the window to the car down, to breathe better. I’d have to tell the rental car company I was planning to leave the state, and see what they say. There’s no sense in lying, since the fact of the matter is as it is. I’d probably go up to Harford Co, just to see if our old family homestead was still standing. I realize it’s closed down and condemned now. I’d like to get an update on if it stands or if it’s been taken down.
The Ripkins bought the farm out back of our old family homestead. They built a minor league baseball stadium behind our house, condemning the place where I grew up. They turned the whole town into a beer garden, to get the money to support their baseball project. It’s just as natural as falling off a log. Baseball and beer, beer and baseball. I never was one for sports. I had to give up beer.
I guess the old Rock Run Park is still there.
The old Rock Run Mill might still be in business, giving used for sightseeing for tourists, as curious parents and bored children, would try their best to be witnesses to a part of antiquity, long gone and forgotten, in spite of the strong stone structure. Rock Run would still be there, along with the Mill pond, where the young people used to gather after dark, to talk to each other in the darkness, partying.
Darlington would still be there, where I first learned that a girlfriend wasn’t all that big a deal.
It would seem to me, after all these years of not having a wife, I’m not missing that much anyway, eying all the couples with all the brats in tow. This world’s got too many young brats to have to reckon with as is. I’m well out of the entire mess. I was incapacitated during the years I would have had to provide for children anyway. I’m just as well out of it. Kids don’t like me all that much anyhow.
I’d like to see the horse pastures on the hill at Noble’s Mill road, as well as the Deer Creek. I’d like to see whether the old trestle bridge remains standing, or if it’s gone by now. I’d like to go to dirt roads I know well and wander around, like the care free boy I once was, trying to see what I might not have seen, when I was under the influence, when that part of my life has not been a part of me in thirty years. I’ve already conquered what I’m straining to see, and like the tourists, I’m looking for a slice of life that no longer exists.
Maybe I’d drive the whole way down the Harford Rd, toward the city, and go across the way to the Double TT Restaurant that I used to habituate. Maybe there’s be a waitress or two, still working tables, that I haven’t seen in awhile, It would be a journey, to get all the way across to the Double TT, from way up in Darlington way. The issue arises that I happen to be a free man, and as honest as the day is long. The only thing standing between me and making this road trip in reality, is the pluck.
The bunch of us used to get behind the wheel of a small fleet of rental cars at the BWI pick them up, then truck them down to the auction sight, individually, all the way to Fredricksburg, VA. We’d run them on an all-out basis, going along I95 at about 85 or 90 mph. I thought all those other drivers were nuts, till I found out I was the lead man. I thought it was dangerous driving, but then, I haven’t seen a high speed accident since the early 70’s. I don’t know that they ever did, once I resigned.
I thought it didn’t matter, but I’ve always felt I betrayed the crew. They were honest people, trying to make a living. One day, I broke up the team. I hope they’re all getting along OK. The other thing is that I’m going to stay away from the mountains of North Carolina. I spent enough time there, three sheets to the wind. I might embarrass myself going back there. Might get myself busted on general principles, too. The same cops still patrol there. If I grow my hair, I’ll get some red necks.
I’m definitely going to grow my hair.
I left them all high and dry, once my disability set in. I’d need a medication change, and the casualties would be far and wide. The best road trip is taken at low speeds, with the driver’s side window down, to let in the sweet country air. Ride passed the bean fields and the shoe-peg corn fields, when the corn is higher than the car. One has to watch for wild deer in the high cornfields on the sides of the roads. Then one goes into the woods, with the stony brook off to the right, up home.
The best dirt roads are in Harford Co, where the real estate is as antiquated as the cars you used to drive. I know the roads up there by second nature, and can imagine each one, by simply thinking about the neighborhood. There was the tank testing grounds by the side of the Deer Creek. Sometimes, you’d see a tank. A public, dirt road passed by the place, on it’s way to nowhere, with a fence in between. Seems like there were some pretty places back in there.
Doug Cooney and I used to drive around those roads, drunk late at night, and pop frogs with our tires, that happened to be sitting in the road when we happened by. We were a couple of sadistic kids that way. We’d load up the car with beer, and no critter was safe from the likes of Doug Cooney and me. We’d go to the king’s house, because the king would always give us beer, and we’d get a buzz on.
I only use his name because he’s gone. The cancer took him a lot of years ago now. Too much beer.
Belair, is the county seat of Harford Co, and has changed so much there’s hardly any point in going there at all. Of course, the flower shop where I worked has survived all these years. I gave them a good launch. But the features, the roads have all changed so much, since last I was there, it’s all a different place. Then, there’s that boom town down from Grandma’s that sprung up out of the clear blue one day. Who knows what that place is all about? It’s another part of Harford County.
All I want is one more piece of that abundant love that was there, once upon a time, but I’m not certain the roads themselves have that love, all by themselves. I think the love came from my Mom, my Aunt, and my Grandma. I think what I seek was part and parcel of the tender loving kindness, which was a part of my home life in those days. Why it was I squandered that love with reefer and beer, I’ll never understand. I already know they’re long since dead and gone. I can go hither and yon, looking, but I really believe that what I seek has gone on to Glory.