Bad roads have been with humans since the beginning of time … only then folks called them deer trails, rabbit paths, or wagon ruts. More than likely, even if all the bad roads currently classified as such in Marion County were fixed, more would deteriorate to take their place on the never-ending list.
I have lived in Marion County pretty much all my life and cannot really say the roads are any better or worse than they ever have been. The funny thing about bad roads is that they are a lot more memorable than good ones. When I think about what makes growing up and living in Marion County special, well, bad road moments make the list.
A few years back, when it actually rained enough at one time to make the creeks run, our road flooded, and that is putting it mildly.
The three children at home cheered wildly the morning the bus could not get in because we had water crossing our road, over a span of close to 100 yards, and 10 feet deep in some places. Yep, it was that much!
We got out the canoe and went for a ride. It was a glorious day spent investigating the expanded creek and canoeing down the road to the big bridge east and south of our home. The pictures we took that day are some of my favorite. It may have been more a creek and water problem than a bad road deal, but we definitely did not drive anywhere that day.
Another bad road memorable experience took place just a few years earlier. Road conditions were about the same then as now. County crews dumped large rocks on our road, and then the section road-grader operator scraped it off into the ditches, except for the large ridges he left at the end of our driveway. On one particular day, I stood on our front porch, surrounded by our four young children, as we waited for Daddy and Grandpa to bring home our first piano.
Oh joy when we saw them coming down the road! Kids jumped up and down in excitement and I daydreamed of classical minuets and sonatas.
Suddenly the dream crashed, literally. As the truck hauling the large upright piano turned slowly into our driveway, it lurched over that big rock ridge at the end, the front of the truck dipped down, and the piano started to rock in the bed of the truck. In slow motion, before our very eyes, that crazy piano lifted up out of the back of that truck and flipped entirely over the edge, landing with a smash, boom, bang right in the middle of the driveway.
Total shock was followed by disbelief, and then complete intrigue! None of us had ever seen the inside of a piano before. It was awesome! The older boys were soon fencing each other with curly wires pulled from the interior. The younger two children and I were fascinated with the millions of tiny felted hammers, that when banged down on certain wires made a complete clash of interesting sounds.
What an education we got that day, thanks to the bad roads of Marion County. Well, we can blame the rock ridge, right? It is better than admitting whoever loaded that piano tied the blanket around it nice and tight, but completely forgot to tie it to the truck!
I could go on and on about bad road memorable moments, there have been so many —getting stuck, sliding into the ditch, hitting potholes, breaking a ball joint on a chuckhole, enjoying nice walks because of flat tires. The list is endless, but I have to share part of a song my daughter and I wrote about our Marion County road several years ago.
Back when American Idol first came out, they sponsored a song-writing contest. We often sing while driving, and it was not long before we perfected our song for the contest. Unfortunately, we never entered because we did not know how to record it and send it in online. However, we still sing the memorable refrain when driving together down Marion County roads.
The words go like this: God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be a star come next sunrise. It’s been a great journey, I’ve no regrets, and if I get there, I won’t forget where I come from.
It’s been a long, lonely road, with dust on the corners, grass down the middle, and potholes and boulders, but I took my time, to think, and find my way.
Of course, our song probably does not make much sense without music, but the point is, bad roads, wherever they may be, do make for some memorable moments. Be sure to enjoy some when driving in Marion County.