Rolling Down The Road

On The Back Page With Daryl Gay - June 2020

Daryl Gay | June 1, 2020

To drive or not to drive…

Shucks, that ain’t even no good question!

Driving is what I do. If there’s a goat path in south Georgia that’s wide enough, my Super Deluxe Edition Georgia Outdoor News Covered Pickup Truck has likely been on it.

And slid off it.

The SDEGONCPT—which some of my buddies of the more ignorant variety refer to as a “minivan”—doesn’t have quite the traction of a goat, but then, what does? Besides, they wouldn’t know a Mopar from a Moped.

The SDEGONCPT has two unique talents: 1. Keeps things perfectly dry. 2. Keeps its mouth shut about where we go and what we do!

For instance, it never said anything about that time in the back pasture of Old Man Skeet… uh, well, never mind; it ain’t that important. Just know that thanks to the SDEGONCPT, me and her both got out buckshot-less.

And dry.

Moving right along…

Not that you believe a lot of what you read here anyways, but you’d be totally flabbergasted at some of the things the ride and I see. Mostly on county maintained gravel roads, but we also do our fair share of interstate travel.

In fact, I can fairly assess the rate at which our state is opening back up from the pandemic by calculating the increase in the number of idiots on highways. Sad but true.

Lemme give you one example of a really good stretch of road: Georgia 27 West between Vienna and Americus. It’s a little better than 27 miles between those towns, and on three occasions I’ve made the trips seeing ZERO, one and two vehicles! That’s meeting or passing approximately NO automobiles.

Conversely, it’s also the road that produced the single most sphincter-tightening episode between me, the jalopy and a certain buck that was in almost as big a hurry to get somewhere as I was. I was heading east, and he was highballing south. I saw that buck’s head at less than a foot from my side window as he was shucking, jiving and hauling back on every brake he ever thought about having! Fortunately, he didn’t bust no hoses and hauled up about a 32nd of an inch shy…

That’s the way these things happen: suddenly and out of nowhere. Like the time between Bristol and Jesup…

I’m tooling along minding my own business, corn fields on both sides, when something in the road over a rise catches my eye. First step is to rein in the SDEGONCPT a little, and as we top the crest, I see a triangular orange flag fluttering from a long flimsy pole attached to a three-wheel bicycle… pedalled my way furiously by a hefty late-20s guy… who is as naked as a mockingbird.

These things ever happen to you?

How about being robbed? Lissen; even the prospect of being robbed ain’t no fun…

 I got out of the two-seater—everything behind me’s been stripped all the way to the back hatch, the better to haul stuff—at a convenience store in a town along I-16 which shall go unnamed. There was a bag full of cash on the floor by the console, as I was running a delivery/collection route that day.

A trio of loafers—lounging beneath the No Loitering sign—watched my every move. As I did theirs, hackles rising for some unknown reason. One followed me in, and when I came back out, motioned to the other two—who hurriedly followed him my way.

That console, by the way, provides a perfect resting spot for my friend Bertha—who came to me from Dan Wesson Arms. In a blink, I unsnapped her. Allow me to go ahead and issue an apology in advance in case you’re offended by this statement: there may be a lot of things one day chiseled on my tombstone, but WILLING VICTIM ain’t likely to be among ’em.

The first guy in line was wearing, strangely enough, a three-button pullover. And I had already picked out THE button, if you know what I mean.

Overreaction? Mebbe, but methinks not. Nobody was coming over to borrow a cup of sugar. Besides, it was rather enjoyable watching would-be hoodlums evaporate, never a word spoken…

And speaking of robbers…

They finally got me. Or, at least, one got the SDEGONCPT. It was somewhere—and it would take a week to figure out how to get back there—the other side of Vidalia. Just pick one.

Me and the Allman Brothers are doing what we do—tooling along a hilly, curvy gravel road we ain’t never been on—when we innocently top yet another big hill.

Cruising; maybe 55; simple. The doe probably thought so, too. That’s what got her slammed. 

But she wasn’t really the problem. It was the stupid buzzards!

My theory is that the buzzard was the very last thing ever created. Right after the hyena. There had to be a cleanup crew, so all the ugliest leftover parts and attitudes were crammed into buzzards and hyenas.   If there’s anything appealing about either of these wackos, I ain’t discovered it yet. And no, I ain’t run up on no south Georgia hyenas—yet—but there’s probably a trail I’ve missed down around Fargo…

Anyways, driving into a flock of shocked buzzards is like walking into a covey of bobs. Multiplied by a thousand. And before it could be prevented, one of the winged plug-uglies swooped in and flew right off with my driver’s-side mirror. Sheared it right off! But Ol’ SDEGONSPT ain’t no willing victim neither! As we rode on, buzzard and mirror splattered the asphalt together…


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