Friday, April 7, 2017
There wasn't a four-lane turnpike or even a road shown on the Oklahoma map from Caney to Coleman so we asked a lady if there was a little-used back road connecting the two of them.
"Sure," she smiled and pointed off to the left, "you go down here to the first road that turns back west. It will turn into a dirt road after a couple of miles but just stay with it until you go through the bottom. There's a road that goes off to the left...no!" She turned around and put up her hands like they were on a steering wheel (that should have been my first clue) and said, "Don't turn left. Go right on the first road after you go through the bottom. Just keep on that road until you come to a T in the road, make a right at the first one and a left at the second and third ones and you'll come right out in Coleman."
She hurried back into the church where the ladies were cleaning up after a wedding. Mr. B and I'd been there to photograph the wedding so our job was done. Now I can get lost if I go in one door at Walmart and out the other so I'm not a bit of good at following directions so I depend on Mr. B to listen to all the left at the big oak tree and left at the old falling down school.
Mr. B said, "Sounds easy enough to me."
I trusted him but lookin' back there were a lot of back west, turn right, pretend to drive and T's in the road but it was too late to write it all down on the palm of my hand.
We found the first road and turned left. I thought the lady said to turn right at the top of the hill but Mr. B assured me that we hadn't reaching anything that resembled "the bottom" yet and it was there that we were supposed to make the right hand turn. So I held my tongue and hoped there was an open service station where we could get directions on up ahead. We found a flat spot or at least what we figured might be the bottom and made a right hand turn. By that time I was ready to turn around and do our best to retrace our footsteps back to the church and follow the map instead of the lady's directions.
Another mile passed and the dirt road was no more. We were driving on a cow path with grass growing in the middle and craters big enough to hide bury army tanks inside them. I did see a barn but it had collapsed the week after the flood waters receded in Noah's day, and another one where Cochise and Geronimo met up to talk about Mr. Custer. I began to really worry when I saw the skeleton of an overturned covered wagon and realized no one traveled in one of those since Ward Bond took the wagon trains to California. My hands were so sweaty that if I had written down the directions, they'd have done been smeared to badly to read.
"At least there's electricity poles and lines so there must be civilization somewhere," Mr. B said cheerfully.
"They're only here so the film crew will have power to make sequels to Children of The Corn and Deliverance." I shivered and made sure the car doors were locked. My overactive imagination went into high gear and I pictured a bunch of bare foot fellers in bibbed overalls standing in the middle of the road with double barreled shotguns pointed at us.
By the time we'd turned right on six T's we decided to forget right turns and left turns. We would simply follow the power lines until we came to either Coleman or Hollywood. Maybe we could find our way back home from either of those places.
It was a smart idea because an hour later we were in Coleman, population 253. Thank goodness we had a full tank of gas--there was a convenience store with one gas pump--but the sign on the door said it was closed. We were grateful to see a real highway sign showing us the way Milburn. From there we knew our way home. It might have taken twice as long to get there as it would have if we'd followed a real map but hey, no one kidnapped us and made us eat barbecued 'possum or fricasseed raccoon for breakfast the next morning. So we felt real lucky.
A few weeks ago Mr. B asked me if I'd like to take a drive and see if we could find that road again.
My answer does not bear repeating. I still shiver when I think of what might have happened if we'd made another right turn at the next T in the road.