At the end of four days of traveling back roads, confusing the GPS advisers, and going down some questionable pathways, I have two pieces of advice: pray for the skunks and run quickly and buy stock in Dollar General.
Very little that we do in life has only one singular aspect and this pilgrimage to replicate the journey of the 16 slaves sold by James Madison in 1834 is no exception to that standard.
The route was chosen for its historic authenticity in hopes of documenting what was seen by those who walked the path. Was it a tortuous two months? Was the passing scenery similar to their own homeland or was it strange and unsettling? However, it is not 1834 and the travel was by car with reasonably comfortable overnight lodging. In order to keep your attention and my credibility with you, it is mandatory that I share the other experiences.
The chosen roads led me through areas of our wonderful country that are seldom seen by most of us. We do not see them on the morning news or anywhere else for that matter. These areas have basically been abandoned by interstates and the nearest urban area.
The evidence of poverty was overwhelming. The roads gave access to more unkempt trailer parks and small housing clusters that would not pass any level of health inspection that my eyes have seen in the last 20 years. When the path wound its way through what once was a prosperous village, the few buildings that remain are empty and boarded.
The farmland was not productive, the livestock thin and the pastures peppered with fire ant mounds.
Wow, they were everywhere!
I have no idea what can be done, but my responsible-self demands that I at least chronicle the situation. Despite this distressing revelation, there were a couple of other observations of note.
If I traveled 100 miles, I saw a dozen dead skunks. Oh, my. I believe it is skunk mating season and the biological urge to reproduce blinds the poor creatures to the dangers of the highway. Even the secondary roads with lower speed limits were not able to assure the black and white Peppy Le Pews of a safe crossing.
Granted, it was not the complicated and stressful issues endured by our ancestors and our living American citizens: no comparison at all. Nonetheless, it was a distraction. I would suggest that whatever your faith, we should all pray for economic improvement for those who live in these areas and throw in a good word for the unsuspecting skunks.
Perhaps, you can improve your own financial portfolio by investing in Dollar General.
Wow, they are everywhere!
I used to think that McDonald’s and 7-Eleven businesses held a monopoly on the number of their specific rooftops in any given set of square miles—sometimes on opposite corners. But, nothing tops the number of Dollar General stores spotted throughout the four days of travel.
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I have noticed in past years that when the economy plummets there is a rise in the number of pawn shops, used car dealers (and I offer that term “dealer” loosely) and plethora of discount shopping venues.
By no means is this a slam on any of these endeavors as they provide a service, as long as they maintain ethical practices.
Note: This is not an endorsement of Dollar General stock; this is not insider trading!