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Hartselle Enquirer

Afternoon Drive 

By Jacob Hatcher  

Community Columnist  

There was a time, back before a tank of gas required a second mortgage, that folks short on funds could make an entire afternoon out of going for a drive. These days you’d save money by going to a fine restaurant instead of going for a two hour long drive through the country, but that hasn’t always been the case.  

I remember when we were kids piling into an ‘86 Ford Crown Victoria, stopping by the gas station for a glass bottle root beer and candy cigarettes, and riding the hills and valleys of Middle Tennessee for what felt like all day. At the time I think I found it more of a nuisance than a good time; with every mile I knew my friends back home were getting further away and having plenty of fun without me.  

That was before I had kids. That was when I was the anxious nervous energy in my home creating a need for my parents to find any release valve they possibly could. Now that I’m a parent I know there’s few things more relaxing than strapping a kid into a seat and watching them fall fast asleep in the rear view mirror.  

I also now understand the wonders a drive in the country can do for a marriage; gas ain’t cheap, but it’s a lot cheaper than a shrink, and I’ve found that there’s something about the passing of trees and cows that serves as a fair substitute for a counselor. All the clutter and busyness gets left behind, and all that’s left is talking about whatever is on your minds.  

Looking back over the last decade, I think nearly every big decision we’ve made has been in the front seat of a car with sleeping kids in the backseat.  

Last weekend we went for a drive like we’ve done so many times. The world didn’t shift and dreams weren’t laid out with grand plans, but it was nice to just have the wind blowing and not have to worry about the world outside.  

It was a good afternoon. If only I’d had a glass bottle root beer.  

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