The First Day of Road Test continues…

Inside the general store was a blast from the past.  Yes, there were the typical modern conveniences but the shelves were stocked with homemade jellies, jams, and watermelon marmalades as well as the usual orange and fig preserves. Why, there was even a mess of canned cucumbers, okra, tomatoes, green beans, field peas, and peppers!

When I say “canned”, what it means in country-talk is glass mason jars with ringed lids and not in the tin cans one usually sees in a grocery store.  You can see through the jars so you don’t really need a detailed description label; just the date and who did it. There is tremendous competition in small towns to determine who makes the best “whatevers”’; Sweet pickles, green beans, tomatoes, fruit pie fillings… everything! So knowing who canned something is really important.

I remembered watching mom and grandma putting up a summer harvest. There would be enough to last our immediate families all year with some extra for those in need.

My mind returned to carefree years, watching Grampa walking behind the plow with the old white mule, Nellie, pulling diligently; then drifted to later years with my Dad doing the same work using his tractor.  We didn’t have big farms but there was always a garden that produced all our vegetable, including red potatoes and sweet potatoes, and peanuts.

Grampa also had fruit trees; plums, pears, and peaches, as well as succulent grapevines. He tended them all  until the day he died at the ripe age of 86. I remembered the day. He was up on a ladder that cold February morning, trimming old branches from the plum trees in preparation for the spring bloom. Took him most of the day. That night he just lay down and slept forever.

Such a lovely flood of memories. I shared them with Steve. He’s known my family for years. He knew and loved my Grandma Notoes but never had the opportunity to meet Grandpa. I was only 12 when he passed. I know you’re doing the math. Yes. Grandma was 30 years younger than Grandpa. One day I might tell their story but not now. Moving right along…This is a road trip and we are supposed to be having fun!

Outside the market we strolled along the orchard alley in the sultry shade of the heavily laden pecan trees.  Looks like there will be a bumper crop of nuts this fall.  The squirrels were having quite the party but there were plenty of nuts in this grove to share. At home we have one pecan tree. Rarely do those rodents leave us any to use for our Thanksgiving treats.

On our way back to the car we spied a big, old garage next to the market and we peered into the windows.  Vintage cars,

I’m vintage! Come back over here and look at me!

What? Don’t want to bake in the sun?

Like me?

surrounded by tools of the same eras, filled the building from end to end.  The sign said to “inquire at the general store for entrance” but I wanted to make it to Birmingham before rush hour traffic got too deep and I had promised Uncle Bill we’d stop by for a cup of coffee when we passed Montgomery.  We must plan a day trip back to Weston come fall.

Day trip? That’s more like it.

Let us, first, see how this trip in front of me goes.

I’m not a spring roadster anymore, sweetie.

The rest of the day was an absolute delight to the senses. I had no idea there were still so many farms and even cattle ranches still working in Georgia but that’s what we get when we fly via interstate to get anywhere.  We miss the real world. Back roads.  That is where the heart of America can be found.

We made it to Columbus and commenced crossing the Chattahoochee River. “There’s that whine again, Steve, only it sounds more like a humming now”.

“A-a-h-h-h–! Feel the breeze! C-oo-oo-lll mama’s jets!”

“I don’t hear it. Maybe it’s the breeze coming through the top? Or the change of tire noise from the bridge.”

“Just saying. I know every screak this girl makes and it is just different. Almost like she’s singing. Anyway, here we are crossing the Chattahoochee. I just love saying that name. Chattahoochee. Sounds like a fun time in the old town tonight! I think there’s a song about it.”

“Yep!” Steve took a big breath and started singing. “Way down south on the Chattahoochee…sumtin, sumtin, sumtin and a hoochie coochie!”

“Sure y’all. Sing along with me! This is a family vacay, right! Just keep taking me over these bridges and I’ll keep you on key!

Thanks for reading! Be on the lookout for more of Day 1. Keep in mind, this is a 14 day trip with many adventures for the traveling trio.


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