Sunday afternoon rides were a staple in our family. I can remember many Sundays after lunch loading up in our old station wagon and heading out somewhere.
I enjoyed those rides, however my brother Eddie who was a hyperactive child dreaded those rides. He thought of it as torture, because he had to sit still more than five minutes at the time.
Not always, but most of the time those drives would end up at a friend or relative’s home. Back then, people just expected folks to show up unannounced. In other words, you didn’t have to call ahead.
On a few occasions there would be more than one family that would show up, making for a pretty-good-size gathering. Can you imagine today if you looked out of your window and saw two or three families walking up your driveway?
In the spring and fall, they would intentionally have a “gathering” at one of the parks. Two in particular come to mind: Torreya State Park, and the park on Highway 20 west of Blountstown at the Chipola River.
We would also meet at the Chattahoochee boat landing and sometimes at Glenn Julia Park in Mt. Pleasant.
Those were always more of a planned gathering where people would bring covered dishes just for the fellowship and of course the eating.
We still had family reunions, but these gatherings were different.
If it was garden season, my dad would always take fresh vegetables on those afternoon excursions, just in case we did stop at somebody’s home. He loved sharing his garden with folks.
I wore braces and he always took a couple of bags of vegetables to the dentist office for Dr. Pumphrey and the people that worked there.
Even today I still have the urge to take a Sunday afternoon ride, just take off and enjoy the scenery. I like to explore areas I’ve never been before and over the years have found some interesting places.
I found Little River Canyon in Alabama years ago on a Sunday day trip. It is south of Ft. Payne and a really cool place to visit. Another interesting place I found was Barney, Georgia, and some of the best homemade peach ice cream I have ever eaten. It is the long way between Thomasville and Valdosta, Georgia.
You see, sometimes the long way produces the best results when it comes to finding out-of-the-way and off-the-beaten-path places.
Not all of my explorations have turned out good. Once in Atlanta I took a street that ended me up in the middle of Techwood Subdivision, a pretty dangerous part of town by the way. Thankfully I got out alright, however I ran three red lights in the process.
If you happen to want to take a Sunday afternoon ride and go the long way around let me suggest you check out Two Egg, Sopchoppy or Lickety Skillet as possible side trips.
Byron Spires is a retired newspaper editor. He has written dozens of short stories and serials in the Havana Herald. He recently published “The Curious Life of Marci Bell” in a series of three books. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.