I Heart America

An old highway. Somewhere in America. Two lanes. No shoulder. Faded yellow lines. Oh, the things you see while driving old American highways will enchant you.

I pass a young woman walking the side of the highway, carrying supermarket bags. She is young. Ponytail. Sunday dress. There is a little boy on a bicycle following her.

This makes me smile. Because I am glad to know children still ride bikes.

When I was a kid, an estimated 69 percent of American children between ages five and 14 rode bikes. Today, it’s down to nine percent. The percentage drops every year.

Growing up, bicycles were our religion. A kid and his bike were invincible. Your bike carried you far from home, into new realms, introducing you to the world at large.

We kids had no technology. We had no social media. No smartphones. The bike was our internet, our phone, and our Instagram.

Used to, our entire neighborhood would be littered with tiny bicycles, scattered in random front yards. And if you wanted to know where your friends were, you just looked for the bikes.

I pass a Baptist Church, tucked in the trees. Big gravel parking lot. Cars parked everywhere. Mostly trucks or economy cars with muddy tires. No Land Rovers.
The cemetery backs up to a cattle pasture. On the church lawn, I see a couple kids in dress clothes, roughhousing in the grass. If I were a betting man, I’d say one of those kids is about to get his butt reddened.

I pass a baseball park off the highway. And although it’s Sunday, the stands are full. There are players on the field. White polyester uniforms. Parents cheering.

Which is unusual to me.

Because it’s Sunday. When I was a kid, we were not allowed to play baseball on Sundays. For crying out loud, we weren’t even allowed to clip our toenails on Sundays.

Also prohibited was Sunday fishing. Namely, because fishing was considered “work.” And you did not work on the Lord’s day.

Which was sort of ironic inasmuch as all the women would toil, sweat, and labor for six hours in the kitchen, each Sunday, cooking a dinner large enough to feed the People’s Liberation Army of China. Whereupon they would spend another nine hours doing dishes.

I pass a house in the woods. Nestled in a copse of pines. White clapboards. Wrap-around porch. Both screen doors open—front and kitchen. A cross breeze works its way through the home.

Also, I see an old man, seated on a swing, he’s reading—wait—can it be? Yes it can! He is reading a physical newspaper.

More churches. Shady Grove Baptist. Pleasant Ridge Baptist. Pleasant View Baptist. First Baptist. Peachtree Baptist. Trinity Baptist.

Wallace Farm Supply. Your classic small-town feed and seed. Red-and-white checkered Purina logo on the sign. Seminole Feed products. Get your Bengal roach spray here. I’ll bet they sell real cowboy hats inside.

Up ahead are Cedartown, Bremen, and it’s only nine miles to Buchanan. I wish I could keep riding the old American highway. Because this is what I love about our country. The little towns. And the people in them.

But, I’m turning onto the interstate now. I’m due back home in a few hours. I’m an adult now. I have commitments. Things to do. Bills to pay. People to see.

But sometimes I still miss my bike.


  1. Tom - June 10, 2024 12:25 pm

    The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep

  2. stephenpe - June 10, 2024 1:01 pm

    You need a bike. I Know people that ride and see people riding bikes now. Mostly those that ride fancy ones for many miles. They pass my house in groups. Whooshing by so loud I can hear the wind passing over them. Great exercise. Since my Stairmaster broke I pedal a stationary recumbent bike….

  3. pattymack43 - June 10, 2024 6:21 pm

    ❤️❤️❤️ today’s writing!! This is why I look forward to reading your blog everyday. Blessings to you and Jaime…🙏❤️🙏

  4. AUTigrr - June 10, 2024 9:03 pm

    …”only nine miles to Buchanan. Make to read it or say it as Buckcanan. Friend from there told me not to say it the other way.

  5. Michael - June 11, 2024 11:00 am

    Sounds like you were passing through Georgia.
    I loved my bike. I tore the first one up trying to learn to ride. Those were the.good old.days.


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