Tennessee Mountain Stories

Country Roads

Ah, the thought of a country road conjures movie scenes, old tales and song lyrics galore. 

Now I didn’t grow up on a dirt road – in fact they’re pretty hard to find these days.  Nor do my children play in a dusty path, but you couldn’t convince them that they are missing anything as they pick through gravels and find even the tiniest depression that holds water for splashing little shoes.  A trip to the mailbox is full of adventure and watching them again brings to mind fanciful memories.

A couple of weeks ago I included a picture of Ernest Hall standing no doubt along the path to his father’s  Roslin, Tennessee farm with a split rail fence on one side and a barn on the other side.  He’s probably in his early twenties but the joy in his smile makes you think that the hard work on that farm has not begun to dim his spirit.

So many of the stories I’ve heard all my life include walks along the Plateau’s country roads.  I recently drove from I-40’s Plateau Road exit across to Hwy 62.  The first novel I wrote (and have yet to release but I promise I’ll get it out one day) was largely set in the Elmore Community along Clear Creek Road.  Two characters in the book needed to travel toward that Plateau exit and I sent them along the Keye’s Road.  Today that road is a very narrow two-lane roughly paved road.  It’s bordered by over-arching trees, fence rows and homes.  I couldn’t help but imagine walking along it in the early morning hours at the beginning of a long journey.  Of course, in those no-fence-law days so many people took the nigh-way that well-worn paths crisscrossed the mountain.  We mainly have to stick to the roads these days but it’s still fun to think of the quiet of those days without motorcars.  It challenges me to think of the distances my forefathers traveled on foot.  And it thrills me that I have enough stories that I can begin to picture their steps along these same routes.

Hmm, now that I think of it country roads are almost as much fun for me as they are for my children.