Updated: Nov 12, 2021
Fun? Hell yes! I do this around western NC. Paved road went to gravel, gravel went to two track. Kept pushing through up, down from Max Patch. Two track became overgrown bushes. You know when you have to choose between scratches from bushes and a drop-off you can’t see the bottom of, hain’t no choice. Then after ten miles exploring a new way to Hot Springs and my favorite Hot Springs Tavern, voila! We’re Dead End lost! My daughter and I broke out into just enough room in the middle of God knows where, no still paraphernalia, no nuttin’, just barely enough room to make a ziz-a-zagging turn around in my 2007 Honda Van and retrace forks after unfamiliar forks. Like Yogi Berra says, we were taking em! You see GPS don’t work in these here mountains. And you mites’well forgot using that dad-burn cell phone up in here cept fur piture taking. It is a mite purddy upin’ these hills and woods.
Well, we were a wondrin’ what ta do bout now, when what do you know, outta nowhere God (cause it was getting kinda towards dark) sends a man and his wife in and old indigenous Ford pick-up. They squeezed up side-a-side, beside us on the narrow gravel. After a simple “Howdy,” and chit chat, the rather pleasantly understanding man, answers, “Back on down a’ways, you take a right fork, then lean left and anudder left, then go about two miles and take a right at rattlesnake road. That’ll bring ya rite out on the highway at Mumford Chappell.” I turned to Erin, “You git dat? “Kindly?” And low and behold, after a couple a lefts and rights or so, darnit if’en we warnt at rattlesnake junction. We really warn’t lost at all.
But you can get lost in these hear Appalachians, if’en you don’t know where you are. Thank God I speak Appalachian.
Would I do it again? Hell yes! You ain’t living, till you’re lost along the two track backroads of America in whatever vehicle that brung ya🇺🇸
PHOTO: The photo is of a wrought iron forged plate, designed and handmade by George Aloysius Geist, in the Geist Brothers blacksmith shop on Jefferson Avenue, at the foot of the Jefferson Street Bridge over the Cumberland River, Nashville, Tennessee. It’s where you went to get your work horse shoed. George’s father, Mr. Geist, of German country-folk heritage, used to shoe mainly draft horses in that historic shop with oak floors three oak planks thick to support such weight. The art-craft of the old German guy with a pipe was intended to mount atop mailboxes. To me it’s an art gone by, a keepsake, a collector’s item from yesteryear. I display it proudly rite’yeer on my bookshelf and on this blog page for all y’all to enjoy.
But by the time I came along, draft horses were a things of the past, pulling wooden wagons of coal and goods and whatnot, clomping along, clickety-clack, cobblestone streets. It was now the best small engine repair shop in the city, still adorned with that slightly altered handmade “Geist’s and Sons” sign over the huge-wide wooden rollback front door. With handshake deals, George (and my older sister, Ann) would fix it right for a more than fair price. To this day George can tell you exactly what’s wrong with any engine, just by listening. I learned engines working after school in the shop. If a Briggs and Stratton, Tecumseh or Clinton engine didn’t start on the second pull, it needed fixing. Mine (the mower George worked up from spare parts when I owned my first house) still starts on the first start, after 49 years.
”Two Tracking,” Poetry on My Mind, p99
Poet Laureate of My Domain