PALAVERING WITH BEULAH: Rediscover the magic of Sunday drives

Published 1:45 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Remember the Sunday drives you suffered through as a kid, the ones you long for now?  There is nothing like a Sunday drive on the back roads where you grew up.  The trees are so beautiful, the farms and country-side so lush.  The hills and mountains so welcoming. I remember Sunday drives with my grandparents ending up at a Mom and Pop restaurant and having a fried chicken dinner.  I want to encourage you all to go on a Sunday drive this weekend.  And, look for the things you forgot to see for the last 20 years.  It is said we only see what we know, and you know these treasures.

Look for the forgotten buildings.  Old, out of use chicken coops.  They are out there, converted to storage or tool sheds or just empty and collapsing.  Remember the roosters and hens crowing and clucking, chasing bugs and sometimes kids?  Remember getting to help gather eggs and finding a warm one, or one with no shell?

Look for well houses.  They once had tall derrick-like well structures with a windmill on top.  Can you hear the creak creak of the windmill?  Are there any still standing around the countryside?  Remember working the pump handle and that first gush of water?  Well houses and spring houses are about all gone now.

How about hog sheds?  Can you see any of those lingering near an old barn or foundation of a barn?  Pigs were the business of corn, swill, garbage and finally off to the butcher or butchered at home.  Sausage making, salting hams, cutting up pieces to freeze.   Most hog sheds were mighty beat up and eventually torn down, but maybe you will spot a few.

Look for the single building falling down in a woodlot.  That will be a sugaring shack.  Buckets of collected sap were carried in there, poured in big pans and boiled down to maple or cane syrup.  There may be a few of those out there, probably not visible from the road.   You will know them for their top vents.

Smoke houses were usually in back of the house, out from the kitchen door.  There the hams and bacon were hung to smoke for a good while.  Usually used hickory wood if it could be gotten for good flavoring in the meat.

And watch for the wonderful old out-house, brick or otherwise.  Not many of these jewels of the countryside left.  One holers or two.  They are out there, somewhere along your Sunday drive.

Watch for the old farm machinery ornamenting yards.   Hay rake tines stuck in pipes to hang plants on.  Chains welded into mailbox holders, and the milk cans of bygone years are also relegated to hold the mail.  Old combines peek out of tall weeds like sleuthing dinosaurs.

Take your kids or grandkids on that Sunday drive and point all this out to them.  They will get a local history lesson and see more than ever before.  Don’t forget weather vanes, lighten rods, concrete silos, hay barns, and cupolas.  You will enjoy the trip too.  Be sure to locate a good old-fashioned restaurant to end up at – one where you hold the menu and it is not lit up overhead.  I have enjoyed the ride with you.  Tell me what you find.

Beulah Rampage Fishbite is a longtime community columnist. She can be reached at