Not long ago one of my colleagues here at The Times-Gazette, Angela Shepherd, wrote a column about how much she likes her hometown of Greenfield. I like Greenfield, too. In fact, I like just about every little community in Highland County and each one holds memories that make it special.
I’ve often thought I could write a column about each of them. Take Greenfield, for a quick example. I worked there for a number of years – actually two separate stints – and grew fond of the town and especially the people I worked with and for. Greenfield was here I had two of my more memorable athletic accomplishments during my school days, including scoring a basket for Greenfield, despite the fact that I was playing for Hillsboro.
One day I might get around to relating all those little stories about Highland County’s communities, but today is not the day.
Today I’d like to spin a yarn about something else I enjoy about Highland County.
Not long I was driving down Pigeon Roost Road, just south of Hillsboro, when I got to thinking, you know what, I think I could write a column about nothing but this road itself.
Long leisurely rides down country roads are one of my favorite pastimes. I can slow down on a country road, relax like I can few other places, and enjoy nothing more than taking in the sites the countryside has to offer. I also enjoy listening to a Cincinnati Reds game when I’m ambling along, or sometimes some music. The older I get though, what I enjoy more is tuning out everything else except the sounds of nature.
And that’s pretty much how I was feeling not long ago when I turned onto Pigeon Roost Road.
I have no clue when I first took a ride down Pigeon Roost Road, but I’m certain I was a passenger on it long before I was supposed to be driving.
I suppose one of the first things that attracted me to it was the name – Pigeon Roost Road. Where in the world did that name come from, I probably wondered.
Later on, when I was in my early teens, my friends I spent some evenings camping alongside the creek that runs along Pigeon Roost, the same creek I passed over up the road a way with my dad and his buddies when they took us hunting when I was really young. Or other times we just went there to the spend an afternoon fishing, swimming or looking for any other type of adventure young boys can find along, or in, a creek.
Sometimes that involved gigging carp, or even catching them by hand when they were spawning and would gather in great groups. If we saw a big, dark spot in the water as we walked along in early summer we knew it was a bunch of carp, and sometimes we’d “herd” them to shallow water. If you were one of the guys waiting for the carp to be herded toward you, once they arrived it was nearly impossible to lift a foot without stepping on one. We never did much with the carp, but they sure did entertain us.
For a short time a cousin and I kept a raft we built hit along the creek. It consisted of plywood flooring with sides about six inches high and four inner tubes tied to the bottom. It even had its own built-in tackle box. We’d play imaginary games in it, I suppose pretending we were Huck Finn or something, and when we were done we’d pull it up on the bank and cover it with a canvas tarp. But it was gone one day when we went to retrieve it, and that was the end of that.
Around the same time, the same cousin’s sister took a few of us driving a time or two down Pigeon Roost. We were well below the minimum driving age, but she let us drive anyway, and we thought we were big stuff. A year or two later, still under the driving age, my dad let me and my siblings drive on the same road.
When we camped beside the creek, a long gone relative by the name of Jimmy Brose, who lived along Pigeon Roost, gave us a ride home a time or two. He was one of those drivers who’d speed up, slow down, speed up, slowdown, ad nauseam. One time a carload of us got so tickled by his driving habits that our faces were turning red, and my stomach ached with silent laughter, while we tried to keep from bursting out with laughter.
We accessed our special spot the creek by walking through a couple gates along Pigeon Roost where a farmer kept a prized bull. Our days camping there came to an end when someone left one of the gates open one night and the bull got out.
A little later, I’d sometimes drive by down Pigeon Roost with a date nestled close by.
Later on, it was always a good road to start a Sunday drive on as I searched for other backroads or tried to make it to this place or that.
More recently a cousin, the same one I built the raft with, moved into a home off Pigeon Roost, and the creek we used to play in is the back border of his property. I’ve visited him often and from time to time we’ve recounted in deatil those times we spent along Pigeon Roost so many years ago.
And that’s what I was thinking when I pulled onto Pigeon Roost a few weeks ago. I hadn’t traveled far when I grabbed a notepad and jotted down a few notes, thinking all the time – you know what, I think I could make a column out of this.
Like John Denver once sang, those country roads just seem to take me home.