MEEThinks   February 11, 2016   7 Comments on DIRT ROADS

I used to love to listen to Paul Harvey give his messages.  Lots of wisdom in them.  I can hear his voice as I read this one about DIRT ROADS.  Enjoy!


One of the main things wrong with our world today is that too many DIRT ROADS have been paved.  There’s not a problem these days – crime, drugs, education, divorce, delinquency, and so on – which wouldn’t be remedied if we just had more DIRT ROADS.  Here are some reasons (and you may be able to come up with some of your own). People that live at the end of Dirt Roads learn early on that life is a bumpy ride – that it can jar you right down to your teeth sometimes, but it’s worth it, if at the end is HOME …a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog. We wouldn’t have near the trouble with our educational system if our kids got their exercise walking a Dirt Road with other kids, from whom they learn how to get along.


There was less crime in our streets before they were paved. Criminals didn’t walk two dusty miles to rob or rape, if they knew they’d be welcomed by 5 barking dogs and an attack cat.  And there were no drive-by shootings. Our values were better when our roads were worse!  People did not worship their cars more than their kids, and motorists were more courteous (like they didn’t “tailgate” by riding the bumper – the guy in front would choke you with dust and bust your windshield with rocks). Dirt Roads taught patience.  They were environmentally friendly: You didn’t hop in your car for a quart of milk … you walked to the barn. For your mail, you walked to the mail box. What if it rained and the Dirt Road got washed out? That was the best part – you stayed home and had some family time, roasted marshmallows and popped popcorn and rode on Daddy’s shoulders and learned how to make prettier quilts than anybody. At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted like soap. Many paved roads lead to trouble.  Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole. At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car was in August, because if we didn’t some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini. At the end of a Dirt Road, there was always extra springtime income from when city dudes would get stuck. You’d have to hitch up a team and pull them out.  Usually you got a dollar… always you got a new friend… at the end of a Dirt Road!


(It brings back the memory of getting STUCK in the mud in Montana)

Oh, it’s refreshing to me just to read that again. When I was a little girl we’d go from Cedar City to New Harmony to visit Grandpa Middleton. It was a wonderful place to be. It was west off Hwy 91 (now I-15), just south of Kanarraville, close to Bumblebee Canyon. I loved going there! Grandpa built a swing using two old wood utility poles, and he told us if we’d swing high enough we could see the curve of the earth!  I’d pump as hard as I could, and I’d shout to Grandpa that I COULD see the curve of the earth!  We’d go across the street to a little stream and play in it.  At some point, Mom and Dad would always tell us it was time to start down the dirt road and see how far we could get before they caught up with us in the car. Off we’d go, ready to get a long, long ways so Mom and Dad would be excited when they picked us up. It didn’t “hit me” until years later that they just wanted some peaceful time with Grandpa before they headed home.

This picture kind of reminds me of the dirt road that took us to New Harmony, Grandpa, and fun adventures.


Later we’d spend time with others in New Harmony. I loved it that there was only one phone, and it was in the store (yes, on a dirt road… that’s all they had back then). When a call came for someone, a volunteer would hop on a horse or in a car or truck and go let someone know “there’s a call for you.”  Sometimes we’d get a ride on Jesse Prisbrey’s wonderful old white horse – I think we got up to 5 of us on it at once. Still later we traveled to New Harmony (and Kanarraville) to put on our ward Road Show. That was a big deal!


Did you ever put pennies or nickels or dimes on a railroad track and let the train smash it, and then search all over ‘til you found it?  Did you pound a hole in it (using a nail) and then put string on it for a necklace or a bracelet?  That might have been dangerous, but I don’t remember ever being told not to do it.


I loved the time when we were going to visit Wales, Utah, where Dad was born. He took us on a “short-cut,” a dirt road, and it took about three times longer to get there but was pretty exciting.

I think Paul Harvey had it about right on many of the things he shared about DIRT ROADS!



7 thoughts on “DIRT ROADS

  1. Jeff Anderson

    Thanks for a trip down memory lane. Yes you are right. Being raised on Dirt Roads (and a little dirt) didn’t hurt me at all and sure as heck made me into a better person.

  2. Lucy Staples

    Thank you, MEE, for stirring up precious memories of my childhood trips to visit my grandparents in eastern Kansas. The summer I was 7, I rode the Greyhound bus with a family friend (a grandma herself) all the way tom Albuquerque, NM to Ottawa, KS to spend a month with my paternal grandparents. It was a 2 1/2 day trip, and the night they met me at the bus station, I was one tired cookie. I tried to stay awake on the ride home in their old Pontiac, watching for the familiar ‘lane’ which led to their farmhouse. The last thing I remember murmuring in the dark was, “This sure is a long, long lane!” And so it was that the gravel county road leading up toward their farm and the lane to their mailbox was dubbed ‘the long, long lane.’ And so it remains to this day. Many a grandchild and great-grandchild traveling in that part of Kansas have been able to locate the old home place by following the ‘long, long lane ‘


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