The side of the road
I don’t like to travel on the interstate.
Oh sure, it gets you there faster, there’s no arguing with that. But at what price?
Tension, headache, nerves. And once we get to our destination, there’s no feeling of satisfaction on having enjoyed the trip.
If at all possible, I take the back roads or the “road less traveled” if it gets me to where I’m going. I find looking at cattle grazing peacefully in a field preferable to dodging an 18 wheeler at every turn. And then there is the latest danger that has made driving such a hazard, “Road Rage.”
Sadly, driving and driving habits have changed drastically since the onset of superhighways. They have made driving a dreaded necessity. But it wasn’t always so. There was a time when the Sunday afternoon family car ride was an American institution. I’ll never forget how my parents would crowd all of us into the car for a drive in the country or a sojourn over into the next county to visit friends or relatives. It was a pleasant ending to a week of hard work and one we always looked forward to.
There were many diversions along the way. If Daddy had a few nickels to spare, he would pull into a little country store by the side of the road and let us run in and get a bottle of pop. I remember how we would reach into the icy water of the soft drink box and pull out a bottle of Orange Crush, NeHi Grape or Strawberry Soda, my favorite. How cold it was. How it refreshed and tingled my throat as it went down. Such a treat on a hot day.
If it was in the fall of the year and Mama saw a sign in front of a farm house that read “Molasses for Sale,” she would make Daddy stop. If they were a clear red color-she didn’t like them if they were too dark- she would load up with a winter’s supply. She always kept a couple of jars on hand for Christmas baking or serving at breakfast with hot biscuits and fresh-churned butter.
In those days, underground springs were common … and safe to drink from. If we came to one, Daddy would stop the car and we would pile out for a refreshing drink of the cold clear water. As a rule, the owner of the spring left a tin cup sitting on a rock for the benefit of thirsty passersby. But we ignored the cup (“Germs!” Mama said) and drank from our cupped hands. Such a wonderful taste. So much better than the tap water in town. If there was a clean container in the car, we filled it with the spring water to enjoy when we got back home.
Although there were no billboards cluttering up the countryside, there were other innovative ways of advertising that kept us entertained. SEE ROCK CITY signs were common. The large signs which can still be seen today were painted on the roofs of barns of every size and description.
Each barn had its own distinct look. Some were big and expensive-looking, sometimes dwarfing the farmhouses that sat nearby. Others were weathered and leaning to a dangerous pitch, looking as if they would collapse at any time.
Zella Colyer, Somerset, KY
7 cups sliced cucumbers, slightly heaped
1 or 2 cups sliced onions
1/4 cup plain salt
Mix these together. Add water to where you can see it. Set aside 2 hours or longer. Stir now and then.
In a large kettle mix:
1/2 tsp. each turmeric, celery seed and mustard seed
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
Drain pickles well, quickly dash a little cold water on, drain well again. Heat vinegar mixture and add well drained cucumbers. Heat until they change color. Stir now and then. Do not boil.
Put in a 1/2 gallon jar. Cool and refrigerate. Cover with tight-fitting lid. Can also be sealed if necessary. These keep good and are as good as 14 day pickles.