My Sunday adventures took me to the furthest Southwest reaches of Ohio. I’ve been in this neck of the woods before, and love the rolling hills of The Ohio River Valley.
I chatted on my phone with Mother during the entire 52 (plus) mile drive. Even with my phone’s GPS running, I still managed to miss where I-74W veered to the right. At the next exit, I turned around, yet, could not locate the route I needed via GPS. I turned off at another exit and found my self in the land that God forgot.
And then, my GPS stopped picking up any signals.
For some strange reason I’ve always been more comfortable walking along a Manhattan street late at night than I am driving through portions of a river or mountain country. I don’t know if watching the movie, DELIVERANCE, placed something in my mind, or not, but I was beginning to become slightly panicked as I wandered deeper and deeper into unknown territory. All I could do was go by the sun, and aim in a general Southwestern direction.
Finally, I pulled into the parking lot of some company to attempt a Google search. Some men, looking rather rough, came out of the woods with some product of a hunt (I could not tell what it was). I did not see any rifles, but they each carried long knives. They loaded their dead beast in the back of their pickup truck, nicely jacked up far from the ground, and spotted me sitting in my car. Rather than moving on about their business, they became more engrossed with watching me in my van. I was still on the phone with Mother, so I knew that I could still reach assistance if I needed it. However, I did not wish to alarm Mother, and did not share this portion of the adventure’s story. Had I been talking to my brother and mentioned this, the FBI and Ohio SWAT teams would have surrounded the parking lot within minutes, and men dressed in black would have been quickly lowered from a helicopter to rescue me. You think I am kidding? Just have Mother not pick up her phone, or respond to my brother within a reasonable amount of time!
Naturally, we all tend to begin thinking the worst. I knew that I could lock my door, and the passenger door if needed, but getting to the unlocked side door of the van would be a challenge. The men had not laid aside their knives, and I hoped that if anyone else ran from the woods it would be Honey Boo Boo and June – at least they would have been a welcome site! I fumbled entering information into Google.
My brother lives in a rural area of Indiana, and we’ve often joked about some of the customs from that region that would make most shudder. All I could think of was, “My story has Destin’s beat! These men probably grabbed someone’s large dog and it will be served up at dinner!”
I decided to continue driving, and crossed over a little stretch of grass to a neighboring business to avoid driving by these men who were still keeping watch from their towering truck.
Back on the highway, I continued aiming toward what I hoped would be civilization, and North Bend, Ohio. When I visited my grandfather’s mission program near Smith, Kentucky, nestled in the low mountains near the Tennessee and Virginia borders, I also got lost – and saw some sights that made me a little uneasy.
Before long, I saw another highway – OH-50, I believe and a bridge that I recognized. Within minutes, I easily found my way to Symes Avenue (named for President William Henry Harrison’s father-in-law), and North Bend United Methodist Church. The picturesque river town with its rich history welcomes me. And, I was finally among my own people – Methodists! The kindness of these strangers made up for the bit of panic experienced en route to the church.
And, there was no dog served (it’s a Methodist pot luck… they don’t get much better!).