People say I ought to get out and travel more.
I don’t know why. I’ve been to the Pritchardville Fire Tower.
That’s pretty far north for a guy stuck in the pluff mud of Hilton Head Island, where, as someone said, I got in on the ground floor and stayed there.
When I do travel, it’s the road to Mama’s. She’s three hours away — slap across the Savannah River, mind you, with railroad crossings and everything.
Who needs to see the rat race with all its crowded airports, when we’ve got our country backroads, potholes and all?
Besides, the world comes to us as we glide along in peace in what might be called a four-wheeled psychiatrist’s chair.
Broadway’s got nothing on radio stations like the “Big Dog” in Allendale.
You might hear blues singer Odetta’s version of the great line: “I’m like a one-eyed cat peepin’ in a seafood store.”
Or someone moan, “Your feet must be tired the way you’ve been running through my mind.”
Honestly, I am convinced that some things out there in the so-called real world are blocked from the airwaves of Hilton Head.
Like Dorsey Dixon’s “Wreck on the Highway”:
“Whiskey and glass all together,
Was mixed up with blood where they lay.
Death played her hand in destruction,
But I didn’t hear nobody pray.”
You feel around for your wallet when the country preacher wheezes on the radio dial that he’s “dirt dog poor.”
And you tune in the Friday night football game with the Barnwell Warhorses, or as the announcer calls them, “the Hauces.”
At halftime, a coach says, “This thing ain’t near about over” and you hope you’ve just heard the most eloquent story of your life.
On the road to Mama’s, goofy signs pop out of nowhere, not a one of them fit for Times Square.
“Ewes not fat. Ewes fluffy.”
“Husband and dog lost. 25-cent reward for dog.”
“Classic South Laundromat.”
“Mole Funeral Home.”
“Pine Bottom Deer Processing.”
This gastronomic grand slam was advertised outside a wild turkey check station at a country crossroads:
“Butt meat. Slab Bacon. Live Puddin Souse. Country Sausage.”
Country church signs seem to have divine inspiration:
“Every time I see a church
I will always pay a visit,
So when at last I’m carried in,
The Lord won’t ask, ‘Who is it?’ ”
Tiny signs are nailed to pine trees, like one advertising church pew padding — that great impulse purchase on the outskirts of Lena, S.C.
You see names of places along the lonely road that make you want to stop and visit.
Jericho Plantation. Bachelor’s Hill. Heavenly Rest Episcopal. Boggy Plantation. Coon Club Road. Harmony Presbyterian.
You jot them down. Maybe next time you can explore.
Nobody ever said it was Paris in the spring. But give me the road to Mama’s.