I grew up in a rural part of Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley. The unpaved road going by our house was called “Crooked Run” after the name of the creek that ran parallel to the road. The creek took big bites out of the road when it rained hard, but a few truck loads of dirt and rocks was all that was needed to fix the road. The creek had a dry bed with no water in it until the rain came. The road surface was dusty because it had no hardened surface like asphalt to keep down the dust and soften the bumps. Periodically in the heat of the summer the Department of Highways would spread some kind of chemical on the surface to keep down the dust. Sometimes it looked like used motor oil that was spread on the surface.
Growing up I was aware of what was happening on the couple of miles of Crooked Run that ran between Comertown Road and River Road. One reason was that there was not much going on among the fifty or so people who lived by the road. I could sit on the rope swing hung from a limb of the maple tree in our front yard and stay up to date with who was home and who was away at work or taking a rare trip into the town of Shenandoah. Six days a week I could count on the mailman coming every day at about noon. How exciting it was when he stopped at our box! We did not get much mail; Dad paid his bills on time and in person. There was little mailed advertising. The most exciting day was when a little box would come in the mail addressed to me containing some little toy or gadget I had ordered with Cheerios box tops.
When I work in the yard of my Reston home tending the flowers I love to grow, mowing my little spot of grass, or enjoying the out of doors, I often think back to my days on Crooked Run. Our custom was to “throw up our hand” or wave as we call it now when someone passed by whether you knew them or not. They always waved back. Where I live is a wonderfully friendly cul-de-sac with neighbors who do not seem to mind when I wave to them.
The vehicles passing my home are much different than those who passed my front yard as I sat in my rope swing. I am not talking about the make and model of the vehicle; I am referring to the contents and services those vehicles represent. At least a half dozen different delivery vehicles come to our street each day in addition to our U.S. mail carrier. Not only are we getting our groceries brought to our door but insulated cardboard boxes bring the contents for fixing our own meals. Of course the evening brings the pizza delivery person or someone delivering a favorite restaurant meal. Last week a technician came by who fixed a neighbor’s bike right in the back of his van. A new windshield can be delivered and installed in your vehicle in your driveway. Different maid services descend on our street to dust and sweep and polish our homes. The trash truck comes twice a week for our regular garbage and once a week for our recycled items. The different services that manicure our lawns and trim our trees come often.
It is harder to keep up with all that is happening in our neighborhood than it was when I was growing up. We did not go shopping very often when I was young for we really did not have the money or feel the need to go. I do not go shopping very often anymore because what I decide I need comes to me! Home is where the action is.