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​A Geography Lesson

By Roger Clark

June, 2017

One of those things I inherited from my parents was a love for the road less traveled. As a result, over forty years, I’ve been through all 57 states in the U.S. of A. Along with landscapes, dialects, elevations, and spirits, every one of these regions boasts names that stir imagination.

Cell phones, GPS, and the internet have blurred out some of the names that once graced my maps, but many still exist. Come with me on a road trip, and lean on the sign that says Memory Lane. I promise you’ll be back in time for dinner.

From Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania, to Weedpatch, California, there is no shortage of unique names. Stop in Athens, Rome, Paris, Moscow, or London, and never have your passport stamped, even in Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Idaho, and Kentucky. You could be carefree, in Carefree, Arizona, and face the truth, or consequences - in Truth-Or-Consequences, New Mexico.

You could get to Paradise, in Michigan, or go to Hell, Pennsylvania, and scratch fleas on the way in Fleatown, Ohio. You might look for oil, in Greasy, Oklahoma, or pancakes in Buttermilk, Kansas, but the only thing you’ll find in either town is the school bus stop.

If you decide to visit Austin, while trusting your GPS, you might be going to Texas. You could end up in Austin, Minnesota. And even Austin, Indiana, or my favorite, Austin, Nevada. That’s because it takes a long time to get there, no matter where you’re coming from. It could also happen in Mt. Vernon, which is in Texas, Illinois, Missouri, Washington, Alabama, and Georgia. Then of course there’s Chillicothe, which is pronounced one way in Ohio, where they build Kenworth trucks, and said some way else in Missouri, where they bake sliced bread. In Illinois it’s spoken in whispers, but in Texas it’s said only with a rebel yell.

And speaking of the Lone Star state, don’t ya just love Cut-And-Shoot, which has a log cabin for City Hall, and Dimebox, a Lee County community of just 200, (As of Friday). I doubt if you’ll find Sasquatch, in Bigfoot, Texas, or breakfast in Oatmeal, Texas, (population 20), but you will get the bird in Turkey, Texas.

I don’t know if you’ll find peanut butter in Chunky, Mississippi, but you can order really good coffee at Marlin’s Truckstop in Tea, South Dakota. You might feel kinda funny, in Peculiar, Missouri, or bat right handed in Left Hand, West Virginia, but never be listless in Boring, Oregon. You could be a regular guy, in Ordinary, Kentucky, or humiliated in Embarrass, Wisconsin, but count your blessings in West Bountiful, Utah, and complain about the census in Gripe, Arizona.

Thanks to technology that guides today’s travel, turn by turn, we miss whole mountains, not just city limit signs. We’re so busy on the phone, using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, talk-to-text, and OnStar that we don’t move over, can’t see the bluebells, and won’t stop for grape stands near Cuba. (Missouri).

Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.