I grew up just south of Possum Holler on an unnamed dirt road that ran west before paralleling the Catawba River north toward the Sugar Creek…well, I guess the dirt road had a name after all. The River Road…the problem was there were many unnamed river roads in the area and its name has nothing to do with the pig trails my brain is taking me down. Or does it?
I saw a request for historical information as to how Possum Holler Road might have gotten its name. You reckin’ cuz there might have been a few “possums in that there holler”…that’s the way folks said it back then. Not hollow but holler…and the same folks pronounced yellow…yeller. I’m not making fun of anyone who changes their w’s to r’s. I’ve been known to revert when I get a few shots of brown liquor in my gullet. I tend to drop my gs too. But it’s not about the way people talk.
It’s about places like Possum Holler, or Frog Level or my absolute favorites, Sugar Tit and Happy Bottom…and hundreds or thousands of others. Mostly small places, some nothing more than wide places in the road. I’ve always enjoyed places with the “Now Entering So and So” and the “Now Leaving So and So” sign on the same post.
It’s about discovery. Discoveries you must get off the interstate to see. Pig trails leading to crossroads where you flip a coin to decide which direction to turn and end up in a place you didn’t know you would miss if you hadn’t found it. Pig trails you purposely get lost on. “Which way do you think?” “I don’t know…turn left?” Can one be lost if one doesn’t care where one is going?
Some of the pig trails have names like the Natchez Trace, the Woodpecker Trail…or Scenic Highway 11, the pig trail I live on. Even those have become too crowded…like the Possum Holler of my youth. One must get off those well-traveled roads. One must take a chance; you can’t get lost if you don’t know where you are going and have a full tank of gas.
Back in the day, when my bride and I ransomed our monetary souls for our little piece of heaven…our monetary souls are still ransomed, our car and the myriads of pig trails and wide places populating our realm became an outlet. Instead of a knightly steed, we explored our domain in an ’87 Thunderbird to the tune of two hundred and sixteen thousand miles.
When we were really brave we took my old Toyota Landcruiser up over Glassy and Chestnut Mountains before the rich developers closed them off to the serfs and peons. Golfers in Mercedes replaced the rednecks in four-wheel drives.
Still, we stranded ourselves on more than one occasion. Being stranded ain’t too bad when you are crazy in love and have friends who will come and yank you back upright.
When we visited family or friends in far off places, we made sure we got off the interstate. We would pour over road atlases looking for pig trails leading through interesting places. We spent the night in a long-dead Mississippi River boat captains’ home near Shiloh Church, ate dinner in a haunted restaurant in Natchez Under the Hill, made love in an Antebellum mansion in Vicksburg, and stopped to read every historical marker we saw. Too much information?
We visited a baseball coach’s nirvana, Rosenblatt in Omaha during the most wonderful time of the year, The College World Series. But we got off the interstate.
We drove from New Orleans to Pensacola off the interstate, stopping at all the little coastal towns. Took forever…it was wonderful. We even had to argue with our GPS in the delta when it said our destination was a mile straight ahead despite the Mississippi River saying otherwise.
After the Thunderbird came a Mustang convertible and our road trips became even more fun. Even Sugar Tit looks different when the top is down and the wind is blowing through your hair.
We’ve gotten out of the habit…no we’ve gotten lazy. Sometimes life gets in the way, other times you use it as an excuse. We’ve become old and boring. We make excuses not to pack a lunch and the puppies into the car and head out to Coosawatchie, or Hell’s Half Acre which is right next to Happy Bottom.
They all exist right here in South Carolina although those might be too far away for the puppies. See? Excuses. We should load them and drive up to Rocky Bottom, it’s close by…that’s right we must drive UP to get DOWN to Rocky Bottom.
We have to do better. We’re not getting any younger and someone said time slows for no one. I don’t know where this week has gone so that someone must be correct.
Time to find a pig trail heading to Tuxedo and maybe on to Climax. They’re in close by North Carolina. Possum Holler is too populated these days…and not with possums.
For those of you in the area, Possum Holler should not be confused with the Possum Kingdom. They are not the same except for being humorously named.
The image came from Possum Holler Road located in Indian Land, South Carolina in Lancaster County. I guess Indian Land is another interesting name.
Apologies to those who stopped to read thinking this was about possums or pigs.
Don Miller’s author’s page may be found AND LIKED at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM