The Way Out Here

Country roads

By HUNTER HILL
Posted 5/11/22

I’m a big John Denver fan. Have been for quite a while.

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The Way Out Here

Country roads

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I’m a big John Denver fan. Have been for quite a while. When I was a kid in school, my mom liked to give my sister and me edifying entertainment in our Easter baskets. I received a CD of John Denver’s greatest hits sometime prior to junior high.
As a result, one of the first songs I ever learned to memorize—besides old Sunday school standards—was John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” While the song more directly ties to West Virginia, I always felt there was a stem of culture reaching its way back up the Appalachians to our little stretch of woods here in northeast PA.
Anytime I hear the song, it makes me feel nostalgic for all the neatest places found down a dirt road with nothing else on it. Sometimes around here, there isn’t even a sign to let you know what it is.
I’ve been thinking about roads quite a bit as of late, what with spring causing its annual havoc on the routes I frequent during my morning commute to the farm.
All I could think, as I jarred my poor truck through the unavoidable potholes each morning, is how Mr. Denver must’ve had some nicer roads to have come up with such a smooth, dulcet tune.
If he had grown up driving roads like these, perhaps he would’ve developed into a heavy metal artist rather than a country singer, beating a loud smashing tune and screaming his lyrics, rather than calming the souls of his listeners.
Fortunately for our listening pleasure, his roads were pleasant, and fortunately for my own sanity, the Pennsylvania state flower came into bloom this week as well.
For those who may not know what I’m referring to, that would be the vibrantly colored and incredibly resilient long-stemmed road cone.
Yes, the road crews got the magic phone call from the spring heave that it was time to go out and start fighting back against the shifting ground. And while many will be quick to complain about the traffic delays and other corresponding inconveniences, I’m far happier to see our world-renowned gas tax money at work. After all, if I’m going to need to take out a new credit card just to get my tank filled, I might as well be saving some of that money on the cost of new shocks or struts.
Speaking of our tax money, another annual flower has begun to spring up as well, more diverse in coloration and design—political yard signs.
For folks on my side of the river, it’s going to be a big year for that as well. If you haven’t heard, the race for governor of PA is on. Gov. Wolf’s term—he’s been in office since 2015—is ending. I won’t tell you how to vote but let me just say there is more than one candidate running with the platform of lowering the state gas tax. (Cough, cough… Google it.)
But as my politically motivated family members will attest, it’s not all about the big seats when it comes to these elections. There are Senate seats to consider candidates for as well, and they too have a say about where our tax dollars go.
So if any of you reading this happen to have one of these candidates in your car at any point before the election, be sure to drive them way out in the sticks. Maybe aim for some of those potholes you would normally want to miss. And if by chance you blow a tire, just imagine the roadside conversation you could have with those representing your interests, while you either change the tire or wait for a tow. I’m not saying you should play a little of John Denver’s music in the car while you chat, but then again, music is all about setting a tone, isn’t it?
The way out here, we love our country roads, we love our cars (unbroken), and we love to be represented accurately for the issues that affect our day-to-day. And just remember to go about these conversations like Mr. Denver sang his songs, nice and easy, preferably with a smile.

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