The Joys of Driving Off of the Interstate Highways to Wander Around the Small Towns
I once had a cottage on a Finger Lakes in Upstate New York and I lived in Tallahassee, Florida. I would drive up in the spring, then return in the fall, for several years. I rarely used the interstate roads unless I wanted to bypass a large city. I loved to drive on the local older roads, roads that entered every small town and small city, especially in the South. I would drive for two hours, then stop in some small town and have a cup of coffee in some cafe, then wander around the town, entering shops and enjoying the few minutes to all the morning. I have spent all of a morning, for instance, talking with the local people.
Take me over three days to drive the 1200 miles.
What is the hurry? Part of the “vacation” is getting there and back!
As of this minute, I can recall:
— — a three-hour conversation with a beekeeper in Pennsylvania.
— -sitting in a real milkshake/soda bar in a drugstore, these places are still alive if you know where to Look. [Lake City, Florida]
— -sitting with the same guy for every supper stop in a certain cafe in a town for five years!
— -browsing thrift shops.
— -just enjoying where one can do ALL of their shopping within a four-block walk. People walk slowly, talk slowly, and have the time to converse. [in the South, anyways] [spellcheck seems not to like “anyways”. Southern dialect, perhaps?!]
— -[opportunity missed, maybe as I was much too young to Appreciate] In some South Carolina town, here was an old looking small store that had the look of being here for 80 years. The shop door was a screen door and as I opened it, a *very* frail old lady *slowly* got up from her chair. Looked to be a toy shop. Dark and with only a dim light, dusty toys that might date back to 1948. I should have stayed to talk with her.
— -[one of my prize finds] I stopped at an antique shop in North Carolina about a year or three after the Vietnam war was over. She bared her soul to me!
She told me how, at first, when her son went to Vietnam, she believed the official party line without question. Slowly, though, as the war progressed, she came around to understand her son’s view of this war and how this war was only a political move and that many men died without honor, serving only politician’s whims! She must have spent two hours with me, telling me this.
Streamlining! Get there fast and quick. Follow *that* idea of no-wandering and ho ho ho, get born and then go directly to the coffin and do not pass Go and do not look from side to side and never leave the interstate and eat only in dead franchises.
Why not get off of the interstate and have a real lunch in a hometown cafe with real local food, then stroll around for a while and then be prepared to talk with someone for an hour or two!
Why maybe even you could end up MOVING to one of these towns that you stopped to wander around in! Live there for the rest of your life.