Tuesday, November 18, 2014


     I am lost. Oh, I know where I am PHYSICALLY, I’m on this mountain track in rural Kentucky – Wolf Creek Road. Ominous name. There was a street sign where I turned off the paved State Highway and this road has been graveled. It leads up, up, up a heavily wooded mountain. But, my GPS doesn’t go into the land of the lost.
    My heart sinks because I haven’t been here before. I don’t know where I’m going, really. The woods seem superstitious and filled with old legends of mountain people, as my wife calls them. She was born in a ‘hollar up Miller’s Creek not too far from here.
    My son has risked this journey with me – he is a modern guy who does not usually put aside the GPS and go by reckoning, instinct, and “blind faith”. He does not ever want to be lost. If his GPS does not show the destination, he is uncertain.

   I am from an older generation that was raised on rarely knowing in advance where we would wind up or how we would get there on any of life journey in life large or small. I have a life-pattern I’ve long recognized of starting out on trips, business deals, relationships – most every “journey” regardless of how you would define that; and mid-way, or thereabouts, something happens that causes concern, or delays, or problems.
   This time, I feel lost, AM lost, honestly. Other times the project gets terribly complicated for unknown reasons. Or, the person I want to get to know has a problem and doesn’t show up. It is a pattern of my journey. All our lives are made up of patterns.
   Not going up unknown roads is a pattern. Relying on technology rather than personal resources is a pattern. Being fearful of people who live in certain neighborhoods. I got lost in North Philly once and was the only white guy for miles. Cultural patterns in our brains won’t be solved by some soul GPS. We have to have courage, strength

    I want to see my cousin who lives up this road so we press on. My son flips his GPS.
    We pass Tater Knob Pottery on the way up. They make hand-thrown pottery. I’ll stop for a spoon-bread baking dish on the way back. Thanksgiving would not be the same without preparing my wife’s Aunt Etta Clay’s recipe cornbread casserole and I broke the last Tater Knob dish last year. (A bad moment in my cooking journey.) The casserole is not the same in Pyrex.
The numbers on the mail boxes get out of order and the lesser numbers get ahead of the higher ones, the road splits several times and we have to guess which branch to take, we pass a pasture filled with Llamas (who would have thought?), but finally make it to Barbara’s. Her warm smile welcomes us, we have a nice visit, catch up on the family.

On the way back we stop at Tater Knob to buy the dish. The “Low Tire Pressure” light comes on and we see the passenger side tire is going flat. In very rural areas with poverty, it is not uncommon for roofing nails to loosen and when the shingle is blown in a wind storm the nails may frequently wind up on the roads.

Rural people are resourceful and the folks at Tater Know had a portable air-pump and a tire-patch kit. They wondered why a Vermonter was in Kentucky but wound up being good friends of my cousin (and most of the people along Wolf Creek Road).

Where GPS doesn’t go you may find suffering, fear, friends and joy. Get lost, you will probably find something unforseen.

© Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved

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