My sister and I visited relatives in Florida not long ago. We left a forecast of snow and cold behind and enjoyed 82 degree days. Located in an affluent area near Orlando, I came face to face with the adage, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, or in this case: dirt roads.
Our hostess drove through an idyllic town with charming two story homes and wide porches, and dirt roads. When the cloud of dust whirled around the car I stated the obvious “The streets are dirt.” She replied “Oh, that’s the way the residents want it. The town thinks it increases privacy.”
Spending the majority of my life on red dirt roads all I could think who wanted dirt roads? Nobody near my rural home petitioned to leave my country roads unpaved. Visions of roads resembling powder sugar during droughts coating the car, tracking in houses, smudging the windows played in my head. I envisioned red clay bogging vehicles to the rims, then leaving rutted tracks to jar your body. I remember dancing on the freshly paved road when the County completed the job. Now I heard people actually wanted it that way. I felt confused.
I found it perplexing folks living on the fringe of a metropolitan area yearning for blowing dirt and ruts. I found it strange some notions it added charm of their property. Did they want the pace of a rural lifestyle? Did they want to live a country song of dirt roads going home? Did they feel this separated them from problems the encountered in their metropolitan sprawl? In my rural location, twenty miles from a pharmacy or grocery store, we thrilled to drive on pavement. Happy is what a person perceives it to be; my brand of happiness includes my black-topped country lanes twenty miles from civilization. I think the folks living in that town are happy because they have their dirt roads.
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