Growing up, I always lived in a small town and out on the farm. No, we didn’t have horses and pigs in the backyard, but my dad did raise and sell cattle. He and my grandpa owned several acres of land where the cattle were raised.
Because we grew up in the country and never lived in a town larger than 2,000 people, we had to be creative when looking for entertainment. One thing my brothers, sister, and I always looked forward to doing was going on rides. Our rides consisted of riding around with the entire family (unless you were lucky enough to be invited to a one-on-one trip!) on the gravel roads and black tops of Shelby County Missouri. We would pile into Dad’s truck for a couple of miles until we hit the first gravel road. Once we hit the gravel road, the truck stopped and all four kids piled out and into the back. We took turns sitting on the toolbox.
Then, for 30 minutes to an hour, we would go on a ride. Sometimes we went to feed the cows. We named the cows after ourselves and pretended to distinguish between them. Other times we went to the low water crossing. If we were lucky, we would get to drive through several inches of water because the latest rainfall caused the water to rise over the low crossing. And of course, we always searched for deer. Dad was usually the one to spot the deer (I swear his eyes were made for deer hunting) and he would point it out to the rest of us. As my brothers and I got older and wiser (Jana was much younger than us), we would try to listen to what mom and dad were privately discussing inside the cab. I’m not sure we ever heard anything juicy.
Now and then our rides consisted of driving around town. We looked at houses and drove through random neighborhoods. I remember times when we would leave church and take a “wrong” turn somewhere. The kids would ask in frustration, “Where are we going?” or “What are we doing?” Dad just said, “Going for a drive.”
Since I moved off to college, found the love of my life and got married, going on rides have been few and far between. Unfortunately, Memphis doesn’t present too many opportunities to go on a relaxing drive because of the crazy traffic and incredibly unsafe drivers. Not to mention, gas prices were practically $10.00 per gallon last summer. Plus, my husband Wade has always been a city boy and a penny pincher. He has never understood the concept of going for a ride. He asks, “Go where?” and “Why in the world would I want to waste my gas?” I pout and say, “Because! I just want to go for a ride!”
Yesterday, for the first time in several years, I went for a ride. It was a short ride, but I didn’t want to press my luck with the first yes. After we went to Blockbuster, I asked if we could go check out a couple of possible photography locations and Wade agreed because it had a purpose. We drove to Memory Hill Gardens cemetery and found where Dr. Adrian Rodgers is buried (the late Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church who Wade was named after). Then, we went down Bon Lin Drive since I teach at Bon Lin Middle School. We saw a couple of young girls randomly driving a golf cart, and many nice, secluded houses that we’ll never be able to afford. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the potential photography location I was looking for down this street!
After trying for many months to convince my husband to go on one of these infamous rides, yesterday my efforts became a success! Maybe, when we move to Macon, MO where the population is under 6,000, Wade will be more apt to driving around town or maybe even out in the country where we can spot a deer or two. Regardless of whether or not we ever go on another ride, I think I will forever cherish this memory with my husband and store it with all the other memories I have of simply going on a ride.