A Trip to the Store

A Trip to the Store

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A Trip to the Store

There once was a man, a ordinary man named John. John had a family with a wife and three kids, a house with a garage and two cars, very much of an average person was our John. One day John's wife asked him to go to the store to get some bread. As John put on his coat and found the keys to the car he already knew how he would get to the store. He would pull out of the driveway and turn left on Hazelwood Road. He would go past the neighbors on whose land he bowhunted every fall, down the hill, between the swamps and up the next hill to the highway. There he would right onto County Road 20 and cruise down the narrow road that wound past the State Park and the Country Club, probably glance at the lake to see how many ice houses were on the lake and then continue to the intersection of County Road 21. There he would turn left and continue on his way past Ruttger's, where he had often thought of getting a membership, past the boat landing where he liked to put his boat in the lake when he fished walleyes in the summer. Past Koblilka's where he bought his licenses and into town. Shortly after entering town he would coast to a stop at the stop light and wait to turn right. Then a short drive past the myriad's of restaurants and other business's hoping but never getting green lights at the intersections and then finally to turn into the parking lot of the store. Then after making his purchase he would turn around and retrace his route back home. It was a route John had taken many times before and was familiar and comfortable with. The route was one he could use with little thought or attention required on his part. Often instead of thinking about where he was going he would think about other things while he was driving or perhaps just listen to the radio. Sometimes he could make the whole trip there and back without hardly noticing the route itself. Not to say the trips were always easy, sometimes bad weather made the route slippery or heavy traffic made the trip longer then it should be. There was always a chance of having a flat tire or other car problems along the way.

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But these problems were typical of any route and were hardly a reason not to use it. But as John sat in his car at the end of the driveway he wondered why he didn't take another way to the store. After all there were lots of different ways to get to the store. He could turn right out of his driveway and go past the radio tower to County Road 21. Or there were many places where he could cut over to Irvine Avenue or Highway 71 and cruise into town that way. There was even the winding Lavinia Road which, while a longer way into town, would work. So why didn't he use any of these other routes? Being honest with himself John had to admit that it was because these other routes would be more difficult, more work. After all he hadn't used these routes, he knew that he would have to watch the road for curves and watch for where to make his turns. For all he knew some of these routes would dead end and not even get to where was going. The old standard route was certainly much easier and reliable to use.

It would get him where he wanted to and that was the whole point of making the trip, wasn't it? To get from point A to point B in the simplest way possible. And also it was habit to use this route and John had to admit, that like most people he was a creature of habit. It was the route his wife expected him to use, the route the kids used when they drove to the store. Still John hesitated today, remembering a line from Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken"

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both...."

and here was with a multitude of roads to travel on and nothing stopping him from traveling on them except himself. So for some reasons that even he could not put into words, he turned right out of his driveway and went past the radio tower that always drowned out all the other stations when you were near it and continued on down towards County Road 21. As he drove he marveled at some of the things he saw, he had no idea that the blacktop had been extended so far down the road, or at how many houses had sprung up in the development behind the golf course. As he drove along he had to wonder how long some of these business's had been here, he had never realized that there was so much going in his neck of the woods that he was unaware of. In truth John was having so much fun discovering all these new sights that he almost forget to go to the store. Eventually though he made it to the store and back. After his trip John sat down and thought about his trip. It certainly had been different, perhaps not necessarily better, after all his half-hour trip to get bread had taken him an hour. Still it had been interesting, in some ways fun. Perhaps next time he would use the Lavinia Road?
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