We were sitting out on the front porch last Saturday afternoon when a big, red, late-model pick up whizzed by on Charlie Brown. It looked like there was a man driving and a woman riding shotgun
Now, the only things that separate my front porch from Charlie Brown Road are about 50 feet of mostly-crabgrass and clover, gently-sloping lawn and an old rock wall that keeps the front yard from sliding out into the road.
Charlie Brown is about half-mile long and runs parallel to Old Railroad Grade. The roads are separated by three dwellings, a barn and a long, narrow hay field some 200 feet wide in places. I’ve been told our road was a side track in a former life back in the 19th century. Suffice to say there’s no sign now that trains once ran up and down our little valley, except that we have, by far, the two straightest roads in Garrard County.
I have no idea where drivers come from or where they’re going because there’s only six families living on Charlie Brown and none of us have a lot of company. We all know the mailman, the paper guy, the UPS lady, several FedEx guys and the meter readers on a first name basis. And some fellows also run cattle on the pastureland that surrounds my place so they drive by quite often.
In fact my closest neighbors are cows. I have cattle living behind me and on both sides and I like it like that because cows are not nearly as nosy as people and they are generally much easier to get along with. We’ve mostly had cows as next door neighbors for the last 25 years and only had a couple or three serious arguments that had to do with trampling my garden. Bottom line, given the choice between cows and people for next door neighbors, I’ll take cows every day of the week.
Anyway, given the fact that only six families and a bunch of cows live on Charlie Brown Road, one would not expect much traffic, especially since the road is just one, narrow lane. But its not unusual, even on week days, for me to see as many as 25 or more vehicles pass by during the course of a front porch day.
Most of the time the vehicles, be they SUV, van, pickup, station wagon or sedan, will be at least vaguely familiar as will their occupants even though I may not know them by name. I figure that maybe it’s just folks who were sitting around in Berea, Richmond, Lancaster or somewhere in between those places with nothing else to do so they decided to amuse themselves by taking a drive up or down Charlie Brown Road.
Because, often enough, they do just run up to the end of our road and loop back on Old Railroad, or the come up Old Railroad and loop back down Charlie Brown. And maybe it’s just folks who enjoy the novelty of driving several miles on a very narrow but very straight road. But I do amuse myself by speculating as to why on earth they drive by in the first place. And you think retirement ain’t fun?
The other other thing these folks always do, without fail, is either toot their horns or wave at me or both and I wave at them. If Lo is sitting out there with me, we both wave back like we’ve known them all our lives. Of course we do that when we go to town as well. We wave at anybody sitting on their porches along the way.
If I’m in my truck, I also make a point of nodding and raising my hand to other truck drivers. When I meet somebody driving a Toyota 4WD like mine we both wave. If our trucks are the same color we toot our horns and give a little wave to acknowledge our mutual good taste and sound judgment when it comes to selecting the best trucks on the road.
The people who sped by on Charlie Brown last Saturday, however, did not wave back or even let on like they noticed us. They were going way too fast but nobody has kids here anymore and our grandkids are not around that often, so we didn’t pay it too much mind the first time, even though I wondered how they managed to turn back onto Old Railroad without taking out Billy Conner’s mailbox at that rate of speed.
Then about 10 minutes later, here they came again, going at least 50 mph on a road unsafe at more than 10. I waved again but they didn’t even see me and they sped by so fast I couldn’t tell what make the truck was because these late models all look alike to me these days. It could have been anything. cherry red is close as I can come.
Loretta said, “Maybe they’ve lost a dog or something.”
I said, “Nope they’ve lost their brains if they ever had any and on top of that, they don’t have any manners.” In other words we can understand stupid, but there’s no excuse for bad manners.
Loretta said, “If they go flying by here like that again, I’m calling the law.”
And if she hadn’t done it, I would have.