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Cruising Down Country Roads

He checked the wheat fields and

spotted where seeders had missed narrow strips

in the fields.

There’s something to be said for a drive in the country on a lazy summer afternoon. As a child, a country drive was part of our monthly visit to my grandparents’ home. Inevitably after his afternoon nap, Grandpa would invite us to pile into the cab of his Ford truck and cruise over country roads at the speed of a turtle. When we begged him to go faster, he quickly accelerated and our bodies jerked forward in laughter. It was our own little game. A few seconds later, we were back to a horse’s pace.

We proceeded in silence with our mouths chomping on his favourite sun-hardened black licorice. Meanwhile, he checked the wheat fields and spotted where seeders had missed narrow strips in the fields. He saw a whole lot that everyone missed, like the pussy willows, and heard the sound of the meadowlark and the croaking of the frogs. We never covered a lot of miles on our country drives but learned to cherish the sights. It was fun just being squished together and in our minds, going nowhere.

When my husband and I constructed our own country home years later, we learned that there are still folk who enjoy a good Prairie drive. We easily identified those who were just sightseeing as they inched by our yard. We waved at these friends, never knowing them by name but rather by their automobiles. However, we felt honoured that we were included in their afternoon excursion.

I find myself following in Grandpa’s footsteps with my young children. Sometimes, I putter down our gravel road in our new truck with my young ones in their car seats. We never exceed 20 kilometres an hour and have no exact destination in mind other than where the truck tires lead us. I identify little creatures along our path and check to see what the neighbours are doing. And somehow, it’s as if Grandpa is back in the front seat, chomping on hard black licorice and enjoying another country cruise. – Sheila Braun writes from Landmark, Manitoba

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