NORMAN — Brooks and Dunn made famous the song “Red Dirt Road.” My life has paralleled the lyrics to that song in more ways than one.
I was raised off of old Route 4, out past where the blacktop ends. I have literally walked to Meek’s Chapel Pentecostal Holiness church on that old road. And although I’ve never consumed a beer, I have had many conversations with Jesus while on that old road.
I almost wrecked my first car when I lost control of my ’70 Nova on the loose gravel. The song speaks of turning out the headlights and talking to a girlfriend about what the future might hold. Not only did I do that, but I would also work on my cornering.
At night you could tell if someone was coming around the corner because you would see the headlights.
So if there weren’t any headlights, I would hit the gas, come in high, cut her hard to the inside, try to keep the rear end from getting too loose and, while nearly perpendicular to the road, keep the wheels pointed east and then pull out smooth without getting off the gas and still managing to miss my neighbor’s mailbox and a street sign by inches. I’m a little sad and a little relieved that my son won’t have the opportunity to handle that corner like I did.
While on the Norman City Council, I advocated for paving the last five to 10 miles of unpaved roads in Norman city limits. Now that it’s happening on East Bethel Road, I found myself with mixed feelings. There are more memories than the editor will allow me room to print, but I’m so thankful that my parents saw fit to raise their three little wild Indians out in the country off that red dirt road.
We were sheltered from the hustle and bustle of the city. We had lots of time to hunt and fish, play, fight and ponder the importance of life and its process. There was no corruption from commercialization and no political manipulation of social requirements: just the time and the freedom to ponder, act, to be.
I have chosen to raise my family of six on that same old property purchased by my great grandfather in the ’30s.
I hope and pray that my children will have the same opportunity, surrounded by the solitude of nature, to contemplate God, themselves and their surroundings like my brothers and I did, even though they won’t have that red dirt road.