Shortcut

Shortcut

A Story by busterlee
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Observations while traveling the back roads.

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Shortcut


I come to the interstate overpass and do just that, pass over.  It would be quicker and maybe even a shorter route but I don’t feel like traveling at seventy miles per hour.  I don’t feel like being part of that rush. I don’t need to feel the invisible push from cars speeding up from behind me.  


So I bump up and down listening to metal parts clanging together on my old truck at a blistering pace of thirty-two miles per hour.  The road, patched more than a hobo’s pants, is rough and crushed gravel crunches under my tires as the warm summer air moves through my open windows.  I chuckle. “Shortcut, hmm.” My big brother showed this one to me when I was young. I thought he was full of crap. Why in the world would you skip the interstate and bounce up and down on a curvy snake like this?  It’s bound to take longer and I figured the distance was also greater but he seemed to enjoy the ride. He enjoyed showing me a different way.


My Dad also had his shortcuts mapped out around Marion County.  I didn’t like his either. His shortcuts frequently found massive potholes, dirt roads and wooden bridges.  


“I’m telling you it’s shorter.”  He would say.


I’d shake my head and vow never to go anywhere with him again.  He showed me where he caught the school bus when he was a kid.


“You see there next to that old oak?  Right there to the left where that iron ore rock is.  No not that one. The one closer to the persimmon tree.  Yah, that’s it. There used to be a giant pine tree there and a wooden bench sittin in front of it.  I would get up at four in the morning and walk a mile to that bench and sleep there until the bus pulled up.  An old bulldog would follow me and keep me safe until then.”


I nodded and knew that there would be no monument placed there and since I had no idea where I was that I wouldn’t even be able to find the spot the next day.  He was happy though and later I realized that we were in the next county and headed somewhere else for no apparent reason. “Dang Shortcut.” I growled.


“Did I ever show you New Home School?”  He asked.

My Grandfather on my mother’s side had his shortcuts as well.  His were well considered and frequently traveled. Apparently he had a problem with the traffic and redlights of downtown Hamilton Alabama, all two of them.  We would go crawling up and down steep hills and around hairpin turns in his orange and white six cylinder straight shift dodge truck. I was frightened as a child and suddenly I realized why he had forced me to buckle my seatbelt.  But I couldn’t understand why his bypass was better than the standard route.


I’m sure we didn’t save any time and I don’t think the route was any shorter.  He enjoyed it though. It probably reminded him of when he was young, when the roads were challenging that way.  But also, I think he was a road hog like me. He liked having it all to himself.


I hear parts clanging together as I ease past the thick summer growth of grass, weeds and trees.  They gobble up everything around, all the trash, the ditch and they would eventually take the road completely if given enough time.  The air flows across my face and I consider how cool it is, not scorched by interstate asphalt and hot rubber and eighteen wheeled dragon’s breath.  


I move at my own pace.  I consider the small houses, the steel T post barbed wire fences and the cows, the yard dogs, the semi feral cats, the cars over unmowed grass, the crows, the soybean and cotton fields, the creeks and small bridges.  This was my world, where I grew up, running barefoot on gravel roads, fire ants stinging my toes, pond fishing, catching crawdads and snakes, pulling briars from my arms, eating wild plums, nectar from honeysuckle blooms, blackberries and overlooked late watermelons.  I was part of this and this is still part of me.


You don’t see it.  You don’t feel it. You don’t breath it when you’re rushing beyond speed limits on the freeway.  I’d give up my shoes and my smartphone, my internet, my air conditioning. I’d give it all away in an instant if I could go back.  But I know that’s just fantasy. So for now I’ll drive slow. I’ll breathe the fresh air. I’ll remember who I was and what I did, the people I did it with.  I’ll love it all. I’ll love them all for better and worse. I’ll take my shortcut even if it makes me late.


A wise old oak once said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing slow.”.  


© 2018 busterlee


Author's Note

busterlee
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Featured Review

I'm just starting my autobiography and I loved reading this story. I'm a country boy from Indiana and I can relate. I'm posting some of my writing and just getting started. Keep up the good writing. I don't know enough to give you pointers on writing. Gary S.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

busterlee

2 Years Ago

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed.



Reviews

I'm just starting my autobiography and I loved reading this story. I'm a country boy from Indiana and I can relate. I'm posting some of my writing and just getting started. Keep up the good writing. I don't know enough to give you pointers on writing. Gary S.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

busterlee

2 Years Ago

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed.

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Added on June 28, 2018
Last Updated on June 28, 2018
Tags: shortcut, memories, family, country

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busterlee
busterlee

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I like to write. I don't know if my writing is worth reading but that doesn't seem to matter much. I think that I need to write and I know that I enjoy it. I believe that 90 percent of what we do i.. more..

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