Friday, September 5, 2008

221 To 460

This morning the twins and I went to Romp and Roll for a playdate with our playgroup. We got there late because we had to drop payroll off with Ward and I wanted to walk through the house they are building. When we got to Romp and Roll most of the Moms and children we had come to meet were leaving so we hung out playing on the floor and sucking on Koosh Balls until noon. I hadn't been out for a while to take any pictures, I have taken some here or there so that I will have something to post but I hadn't really been out on a photography mission in a few weeks so I figured that after lunch I would do the unspeakable and let them nap in the car while I drove around taking shots from my window. It turned out to be the most peaceful afternoon I have had in quite some time.

My father was a Greeting Cards Salesman when I was growing up. Here in the small towns of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina and for a time South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, there used to be quite a few small grocers and family owned convenient stores and my dad sold them Greeting cards. He had fixtures and boxes upon boxes of cards in his back seat and trunk and he spent every day for almost twenty years driving the back roads finding these places and servicing them on approximately six week rotations. My little brother was never put in daycare but was taken along with my dad almost every day and watched by my grandfather the rest of the time. On days when my dad was investigating new accounts and my grandfather was busy he would pull my sister or I out of school to sit in the car and watch Ricky. Older stores were used to my tag along brother but it wasn't professional to have Ricky tag along into new accounts.

New accounts were acquired in this way: My dad would put $5 in the tank (which was not a lot it seems, even back then) and would wander back roads and side streets aimlessly looking for stores that seemed like they would be persuaded by his sales pitch. I loved going along with my dad (especially on overnighters) because I got to have lunch out with him, read all afternoon and sleep when I wanted. But more than any of that I loved the scenic routes we encountered along the way.

When my mom moved out my brother moved with her and my dad no longer needed my babysitting services so I was not invited as often and so I almost completely stopped going. Between the fall of 1998 and the summer of 1999 he hit a rough time and spent a combined total of 3 months in the hospital due to various illnesses and accidents. By the time he was fully recovered most of his accounts had decided they no longer wanted to stock greeting cards. He got a job as an Inventory Specialist with RGIS and moved to Maryland in early 2000.

Since that time I have seldom travelled back roads and side streets but with my new blog that terrain is what I am seeking. I came home the back way, or the long way really, today from Romp and Roll. I did a big circle around Bedford County, taking a few dozen pictures and listening to Brian Hall, which is perfect for this type of excursion as he sings about South Boston, the road to the farm and closing factories. Driving through the countryside was overwhelmingly touching and beautiful. I doubt that the people around even notice all the beauty that surrounds them because they encounter it everyday. Several people almost stopped and one actually stoppped their vehicle to watch what I was doing while I was parked on the side of the road snapping photos.

I was saddened when the billboards picked up and the road I was on merged with the highway 460. I wished it would have gone on a little longer but the kids were stirring and the belly grumbling, so we headed home.

1 comment:

wesley's mom said...

This is a great story. I didn't know your dad did that.