It had been a long haul: 18 days . . . 9 states . . . 11 hotel rooms . . . 4,045 miles . . . and enough back roads and small towns to make Norman Rockwell jealous. The wedding was over. The Hot Rod Power Tour was over. It was time to get home.
We pointed our Impala SS south and punched in the GPS coordinates. We were just 10 hours and 9 minutes from Home Sweet Home. There was just one question left: “Do we take the meandering path or haul home?”
Our tires rolled out of ZMax Dragway onto Concord Parkway north to Highway 601. We turned east at Highway 24/27 with our windows down and tunes up. We were soaking up sunshine and taking deep gulps of the country summer air. Greenery and the canopy of trees that lined the winding road were pleasant companions.
At the little town of Red Cross we found our first reason to stop. It was the Red Cross Store (“Junkyard”). Just think American Pickers. The store was a time capsule of rusty gold, of old Detroit metal, of Airstream trailers, of signs that spoke of better days, and of lanterns that lost their lights but not their shine.
At Ansonville, NC we were treated to a walk down memory lane at Beachum Classic Cars. A ’59 Edsel Corsair ragtop, ’67 Plymouth GTX, a first-generation Mustang fastback were among their treasures — and that was just the cars on the outside of their building.
Our next stop was Mom's Place in Morven, NC. We picked up the lunch special: Philly Cheesestake, Fries and Coke for 4.99. On the counter were two buckets: One held tips for the cook, the other contributions for the owner's five-year-old grand daughter who was going to a dancing competition. We contributed to both. We talked about the Lord and finished off our meal with homemade pound cake ($1.00).
You could have quizzed me on Saturday morning and I would not have known:
- That South Carolina was charted in 1633.
- That the town of Society Hill was established in 1736.
- That the tales of the gifted story-teller Simon Brown who worked on the Faulkner farm around 1900 were recorded by the Smithsonian Institution.
- That Dizzy Gillespie was born in Cheraw, South Carolina.
But I discovered this and more along Highway 52. The reason? We meandered and we lingered.
We stopped to gaze at this Caddy outside of Darlington only to have our afternoon brightened by Brian who worked in the shop and was enamored with Shannan’s car.
Four hours into our motoring meander, we checked the GPS again. We were still 9 1/2 hours from home. The meandering was over. It was now time to haul home! We joined the caravan of giddy-up travelers on I-95 and said goodbye to country roads, history lessons, mom and pop restaurants, rusty relics, and people not too busy to talk.
I've heard it said that Jesus was always busy, but never in a hurry. His pace seemed to be -- at times -- one of purposeful meandering. He wasn't too busy for a blind man along the road or to pull children close to his side or to pause at the home of friends old and new. He knew what I experienced. That interstate highways will get you where you want to go, but life is lived and memories are made in the meandering.
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV
And the winner is . . .
We had a drawing yesterday for two tickets to our upcoming Men's Retreat (September 6-8) to be held at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort. The winners were Joe Cerrone and Ray Respond. Congrats guys. We look forward to seeing you there!