DAY RIDE 12/26/2019

A Christmas Present For Me

December 26, 2019
  It's been a long seven weeks since I have been able to swing a leg over one of my motorcycles. The left leg is still not where I would like it to be, but the weather is nice and I'm in need of some wind in my face. I figure I can putter down my old standby, the Natchez Trace, and if it is too uncomfortable I'll just head back to the Holler. This will also give me a chance to test out my new Gordon's Heated Gloves on the road. It's a bit of a struggle to get suited up, but we get it done and Frost and I head out. As I pass our church, I am very thankful for the dear sweet folks that go there and uphold me in prayer on a daily basis. It is a wonderful shelter from the cares of this old world and a place of wonderful fellowship with the saints.  
  I take my usual short cut through Newsom Station and under the one lane railroad bridge. As I get closer to McCrory Lane, I wonder how low long before this section will turn into sterile fields of McMansions like the old farm places just up ahead, packed in so close that if you sneezed hard, you'd have to wipe your neighbor's windows as a courtesy.  
  The leg is a little tight as I have not stretched it out much since the surgery to bypass the blood clot behind the knee. The length of the incision still amazes me when I take a good look at it and it will be a while before it settles down. But I'm soon on the Trace and letting the wind and the bends move my brain to think in other directions.
  I figured if the leg can stand it, I'll make my way down to my favorite hamburger place in Lynnville, the Soda Pop Junction. Highway 50 will take me from the Trace toward Columbia and I've got a little 'bypass' route around Columbia to check out. Soon I see the sign for the 50 turnoff. So far the leg is behaving, if not super comfortable, so I reckon I'll press on.  
  Coming into the outskirts of Columbia, there are lots of old pretty plantation houses. Unless you are student of history, you would not know that Middle Tennessee was a crucial bread basket for the Confederacy because of the many plantations and good farms in the area. Columbia sat right in the middle of it and many battles were fought in this area. When General Bragg lost Tennessee to the Union forces, he caused the slow starvation of the Confederate Armies.
  My new 'shortcut' proves to have some pretty good bends along it which suites me just fine. There's practically no traffic and I am in no hurry, so I can just poke along at a pace that suits me and my leg.

I get to the 'Junction' a little earlier than I planned, but they are open. There's an older man taken up residence on one of the city benches as they are apt to do. So I walk over and chat with him. -

"You from around here?".

"Oh yeah, lived close by all my life. Used to have a farm nearby."

I ask if he knew any of my various kinfolks, and he did business with a distance relative. Fortunately it was good situation for both of them - and for me now.

I wish him well and wander on in to find me a booth.

  It's pretty deserted in here today, but then I remember it's a Thursday and it's the day after Christmas.

There's one lovely lady working the grill and tables and she comes over to get my order.

"I'll take a double bacon cheese burger with curley fries" I tell her.

"You want the 1/4 pounds or 1/2 pounds?" she asks.

"I'll go for the 1/2 pounds, please ma'am" and she's off to the grill.

Since they make them up and cook them fresh, it takes a little bit. But I get to enjoy the lovely smell since the grill is to my right in plain view. And as always, it's well worth the wait for the hamburger other places promise in their ads but don't deliver -


"Well, I cooked it like I would for my son and he's a big boy" she says with a grin.

I tell her "This is the place all them other hamburger joints come to take the pictures for their ads" and we both laugh. And I am up for the business at hand and sweep the battlefield with much success.

  After that meal, I don't know if skin on the left leg has stretched any, but the skin over my stomach sure has! But I need to head back to the Holler, so I waddle up toward the counter so she can check me out. And while I am here, I figure I might as well avail myself of some fried pies. These are the real deal - just good crust and plenty of fruit filling, fried to a golden brown and made locally.
  They get tucked into my saddlebags just in case I should get faint with hunger on my long journey home. I decide I'll wander a little bit on my way back since my leg is not doing too bad. On the way out of town, I see an old church meeting house up on a hill. It reminds me that God's People ought to be a Light on the Hill that so shines that they glorify the Father.
  Further along are some more splendid plantation and farm houses.
  I'm always amazed at the craftsmanship exhibited in these older houses that you just don't see in modern day thrown togethers.  
  I figure I'll wander over to Yell Road where my great grandfather and my great uncles owned a bunch of farmland and then to Spring Place where my grandfather and grandmother lived most of their adult lives. Yell Hill is a pretty nice little rise with some fun curves included.  
  Soon I come to the turn off that will take me past the log cabin where my grandmother was born. Her parents were Bivins and they and her brothers owned a good portion of the land up this road, thus it was called Bivins Road. Since the pavement is a little rough, I decide I'll not subject my leg to that bit of abuse today.  
  It's a short hop over to Spring Place Pike from here with some mighty fine riding. I make a short stop by the cemetery where my parents and lot of my kinfolks are planted.  
  I could probably secure a grave site here but it's a bit of a piece from where I live in Nashville. And I would hate for folks to have to make this trek as it really won't matter to me in that day. The church next door is where they had the funeral for another great grandfather. I remember that day though I was a little feller just a few years old. I remember walking up to his casket and wondering what this was all about. I am blessed to know three of my four sets of great grandparents growing up, which is a bit unusual.  
  And no trip along this route would be complete with a calendar shot of the not-so-world famous Possum Trot Grocery. I remember when this was a busy place and you could get a Nehi Belly Washer and Moon Pie for your journey - all for way under a dollar bill!  
  Just around the corner is a building that I get a chuckle out of every time I pass it. The story is told that my momma took me to church here one of the few times we went. While the preacher was holding forth, I decided at the bright age of 2 years old or so that I would get down off the pew and crawl around underneath to see what I could see. Needless to say, my adventurous spirit was not well received and I got snatched up and taken outside by my momma for some real 'holding forth' - with my trousers removed for proper application of the heat to the seat.  
  I pass by where my great aunt and uncle used to live, but the old shack had long ago been replaced by a single wide trailer. We grew up pretty poor and there was not a lot of 'sweetening' around. So one of my favorite treats was to fetch a cold biscuit and dip it in the sugar bowl. It wasn't a Hostess Twinkie, but it was about as good as I could get as a small, poor lad. Well, we went up to visit them and lo and behold what was on their kitchen table, but a plate of leftover biscuits and one of them carnival ware sugar bowls full of sugar. Since all the adults were in the front room discussing important matters, I saw no harm is partaking of a little refreshment to tide me over til eating time. The thing was, sugar didn't tend to stick good to a cold biscuit unless you licked it real well first before you commenced to dipping. When I got me a biscuit well lathered up and commenced to dipping, I hear a 'AHMMMM' and wouldn't you know it - my momma was standing in the door way. I love my momma, but I sure didn't love her 'appearing' that day. I have a hunch that's the way many folks will be the day the Lord comes back. They're got their biscuit in the sugar bowl when they should have been tending to the Lord's business. They may love Him, but they won't love His Appearing!  
  Down the hill, I pass my grandparent's old place. The big house has long been torn down, but the old barn is still standing. I remember as a little feller my momma would put me and my sister in a little Radio Flyer Wagon and pull us out this barn so she could watch us as she milked the cows. I still have that original wagon in my garage. We used to also roller skate up in the loft with those old clamp on skates and put old metal bedsteads across the openings so we wouldn't go flying out from the loft.  
  From here I wander back toward Columbia, highway 246 towards Leipers Fork and then back to the Holler. The leg is not quite ready for 'prime time' but it will do as time passes. It's been a good trip - a day of many precious Christmas presents.