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Posted: May 15, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Driving Miss Paula

I have never been a multi-tasker. I like to finish one thing and then move on. And that might describe my style of driving.

I tend to concentrate on the road and the cars around me and ignore anything else — unless I am trying to follow someone’s directions and looking for landmarks, something that stresses me out.

Over 25 years ago, I was driving west on U.S. 278, having made a left turn from Emory Street. I had passed the first traffic light when a truck came up behind me and began to honk. I ignored the persistent honking and traveled through the second traffic light, making a rude comment to myself about the character of the honker.

Then the truck swerved into the other lane, passed me, pulled in front of my car and stopped in the middle of the road. This time I was really annoyed and somewhat surprised at the conduct of the driver of the truck.

It was not until the driver of the truck opened the door and began stalking back to my car that I realized that said driver was my husband who had been trying to get my attention for the last several minutes.

That’s how oblivious I am to external things when I am driving.

I tell you this because my husband and I traveled to the Georgia coast last weekend. He drove. And his driving style is the exact opposite of mine.

He notices everything. He is constantly telling me to look at the house or barn that is way back in the trees on the right. Or pointing to a blank space on the side of the road and telling me what type of building used to be there and how old he was when he visited that building and under what circumstances. He can make a trip in the car an autobiography.

I become so unnerved by his scenic observations that I tend to stare at the road to make sure I see what he is missing — which is usually unnecessary as he is a good driver. Though, on this trip, he did run over a bag of potting soil which was lying in the middle of the road.

We made the trip to our destination in just slightly less than five hours, exactly what MapQuest had predicted.
Getting home was another thing. The trip home was one of my husband’s favorite things to do. We wandered back roads for hours, and it took eight hours to get home.

Our Odyssey began as we left St. Simons and went south as my husband wanted to investigate the very large bridge that was south of the island. We then toured Jekyll Island and got caught in traffic as what I think was a graduation ended.

We again went south and caught I-95. A brief time on that road ended and we began our cross-country Odyssey. We traveled through Ludowici and on to Glenville — the Wire Grass Trail, according to a friend. As described on the internet, Ga. Highway 57 is the most scenic way to get from Macon to the Golden Isles. It is a quiet trip past antique stores and Revolutionary War sites, over glinting rivers and through historic coastal hamlets.

You can travel those roads for 30 minutes or more at a time and not see more than two houses, and only one of them will look occupied. But, boy, do you see pine trees in all stages of growth. Trees replenish the oxygen in the air and remove carbon dioxide. There must be some mighty fine air filled with oxygen in South Georgia.

My husband spent a good bit of his time as a child in and around Lyons so he was familiar with the roads and people around here. We stopped at a vegetable stand and bought Vidalia onions and a watermelon and played “who do you know?” with the owner of the stand.

But all good things must come to an end and we returned to civilization and I-16 on our way to Macon and home.
My husband enjoyed the day. There is nothing he likes more than a ramble through rural Georgia and talking with everyone he meets.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be contacted at pnbtravis@att.net.

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