When I was a girl we lived on a dirt road. Mom said that it was actually named Dirt Road before things got serious. Then it was covered in gravel and had a name of O’Reilly Road, named after the infamous Bob O’Reilly down the road. I would have liked it better to be named after his super nice wife Viola. I have issues with the departed Bob O’Reilly because he ran over my dog, but that is another story.
Dad used to get flack from my mom because it was so dusty on our road and the wind would sift the dirt in and making her job a little harder. Open windows for air circulation was our cooling system with a big black fan seated on a wooden chair came in handy when it was super hot.
When it got too dusty from what Mom thought was the road dust, dad would call up the township road people and ask to have it sprayed. For us this mean that a big truck would come down the road and spray oil on the road settling the dust. Dad would call this oil kangaroo juice and I liked the whole idea of that name because it didn’t make one bit of sense. Now you know where I get it from.
Later our road was upgraded to blacktop and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was so much easier to ride my bike the few miles to Roseanne’s and Kathy’s houses. Now we take such roads here in Wisconsin for granted. I have learned when teaching 4th Grade History that our country roads were some of the first to be paved in the country because of the value they put on getting the milk from the farms for distribution.
When I go see my friend Rachel in Nebraska you don’t have to drive far off the main highways to find a dirt or gravel road. When Rick and I drive on them there we are reminded how easy it is to slide a little more on such surfaces and are transported to when we were so much younger.
I am feeling a little extra grateful for good road surfaces these days because both of the towns on either side of us are enjoying new road construction. We are assuming that the Department of Transportation has lost their minds in doing these projects simultaneously or they are evil geniuses. Nevertheless we are bumping along streets to get to our main destinations each day and thinking about how much it will cost in new suspensions on the vehicles.
That takes me to the road we live on now and have for the last 35 years. It is blacktopped and usually a smooth trip unless I am trying to run down cranes with my car. I digress… Winters are pretty rough on roads and since our road is not that heavily traveled the blacktop lasts for a while. Once we had a culvert wash out in the night and our Erin was the first to come upon it without diving her car into it. We have a few pot holes from time to time and once in a while I have been known to take a shovel to them and see if I can fill this a bit before the township gets at it. I think it is nice to see if you can fix your own part of the township if you can, but I always end up dropping a line to the town board to see if they can send some trailer and bucket out to patch it.
Recently I had an idea that made Rick look at me, not with surprise, because let’s face it, he is never really surprised anymore about the ideas I have, but with a dead pan expression that feigned interest yet was trying to see if I was kidding. He just looked off in the distance, probably thinking about whether the Brewers were playing in town tonight. Silly man. Of course I wasn’t kidding. My idea is that since it is just one deep hole all by itself and we have a bunch of rocks left over from the septic rampage, we could as a sort of fill your bucket (hole) gesture take a rock from the pile and as we went past it each day, slow down just enough to be accurate and drop in into the whole. It would be sort of a game and do some good at the same time.
Rick has not chosen to comment on this technique or whether he will partake in this road building exercise with me. He is just quiet. I believe that one of the roles I have in this marriage is to make him question my sanity and to make him think about his.
I put a few rocks the size of my fist on the seat in my car so I wouldn’t forget in the morning.