County roads

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Recently, I took a drive along a rural road I had not traveled in what seemed like an eternity.

As I drove, I started to remember road trips taken along the route when I took was a kid.

There was the dirt road we took that went back to the farm where we bought several market hogs to show when I was a youngster. I remember going to the farm to get those hogs because the farmer was the first person I ever wrote a check to. It was $250 for two barrows; pretty big money back then for a 14-year-old. 

The name and exterior of the old convenience store on the other side of the you-have-to-know-where-it-is-to-get-there town may have changed, but it looked like it still had a pretty good lunch crowd. Some say you can tell where the best food along interstates is by a parking lot full of semi-trucks. Along the rural roads in the Ozarks, it’s the gas station with lots of pickup trucks parked at the door, and farmers and old-timers gathered around two or three little tables, solving all the world’s problems and chewing on more than the daily special. We all know of a place or two just like it. 

I went a little further, and there was the farm of one of my dad’s old cattle buddies. I remember very well the day D.R. stopped by the house and unloaded a pretty poor-looking bay mare that was supposed to be bred. My mom was not very happy with my dad or D.R. The mare was, in fact, bred and did produce a colt. She stayed at our place for many more years. When she died, she was well into her 30s and is buried under “her” tree. Several dairy heifers came to our place courtesy of D.R. over the years as well. D.R. has been gone for many years, but I can still remember his voice and his mannerisms. 

As I continued to drive, I remembered who lived down this road or that one, and memories of days gone by seemed like just yesterday. I can’t remember what I was doing 10 minutes ago sometimes, but I remember these places and the people. After traveling that road, it made me want to venture into some other areas to revisit other memories. 

Can I remember driving on a busy interstate or four-lane highway like I can the rural roads? Not so much. I don’t remember taking a particular exit to go here or there; it’s like I am just going through the motions to get from Point A to Point B. For me, there isn’t anything to remember or recall when you drive at 70 mph. Taking an exit isn’t the same as turning onto an old dirt road from a two-lane highway. 

Sometimes it pays to slow down and look around. You never can tell what you might find or remember along the way.

Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected]

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