I have lived in Greenville for a long time, so I don’t get lost in this town. Well, not usually.
Occasionally I may intend to go towards the south end of town and for some reason I find myself going north, but that’s because I have a lot on my mind. And as soon as I realize I’m going the wrong way, I turn myself around and manage to get wherever I intended to go.
I can travel in most any direction out into the county and not get lost. At least I thought I could until last week. North, east or west never posed a problem, and I was equally confident I could go southward if I chose to.
Then last weekend we had company coming to visit, and I needed some of their favorite foods I usually buy at places off of Ohio 49 South. Our yard was full of contractors putting in the new driveway. That meant I couldn’t pry Bill out of here for anything, not even to visit some of his favorite shopping haunts.
My kids who are usually ready, willing or at least able to go shopping with me were all busy. So what. Not a problem. I have traveled Ohio 49 all of my life and never once got lost.
Well, there was one time several years ago when I took a side trip on my way to the Salem Mall and wound up two blocks from the Veteran’s Hospital in Dayton.
But I just pulled into a service station and asked for directions. After they got over their initial shock that I was there they told me where to go, and eventually I got to the mall and had a great day shopping.
Sometimes I had a little trouble getting back home. Somehow I would miss the exit off I-70. For a while I was sure they were going to erect a sign about a mile down the road from that exit that said, “Ha, Ha, Floyd, Missed it again” but, they never did, and I finally got the hang of it.
So, I headed south all by myself. As I drove along, visions of the chocolate candy lining the aisle at the Country Store in Jaysville danced through my head. The company that was coming for the weekend liked chocolate candy too, so I went into Jaysville and stopped.
I made several purchases and was back on the road, making good time, when I realized I was not back on Ohio 49. I drove a little farther and decided the best time-saver was to go back to Jaysville and start out again. I could hear my family jeering at me, “You got lost in Jaysville!”
Well technically, it was outside of Jaysville, and I did find myself, but my life would be easier if I just didn’t tell them about it. Besides it was probably the chocolate fumes in the car that caused my confusion.
I proceeded down the road to the Arcanum turnoff for the next stop at the fruit farm. I thought we always turned at the first traffic light. A few blocks down the street I realized it must have been the second traffic light. Again, I found myself and found the right street and got to my destination.
If my family found out I almost got lost in Arcanum, they would never let me forget it. But on the other hand, they would never need to know that.
I pulled in the lane, made a slight turn and found my way blocked by a truck, which was being unloaded. Not a problem. I had a whole country field behind me. Anyone can back up and turn around in a country field.
I made my purchases and returned to the car to find another vehicle had pulled in right behind me. Frustration compounded! To get out of my way, the other car backed up right where I had intended to back up. But then another lady directed me, and I was on the road again.
Now, I realize my life would be a whole lot easier if I never told this story, but I have learned a valuable lesson I need to share with you. Whenever I went in any direction from Greenville but south, I always drove. When we went south, I just rode along. So if you don’t want to get lost, you had better drive yourself so you pay attention to where you’re going.
Or you could do like one of my daughters does. She was driving us one day when I realized she was lost. I made the accusation, “You are lost!” “No, I’m not,” she replied calmly. I am still on planet Earth.” Sounds like a good philosophy to me.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate April 24, 2004. Please do not send me maps of Darke County. I still have a whole stack from kind readers the last time this column was published.