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Rural Directions
Bill Batcher


Phil Garvey’s Home? It’s simple.
Just follow the road
to the bend in the river
and take the left fork.
Stay close to the river
'til you come to where the dam
used to be.
We tore it down in ’49.
It ruined the fishing upstream.
Take Herkimer Road.
I forget what the sign says now,
but everyone still calls it the Herkimer Road.
Drive past where the “dry” elm tree stood
before the disease hit.
My Grandma planted it
when she was president of the WCTU.
She was mighty proud of that tree.
Held a picnic with lemonade every summer
in the shade of that old tree.
I kinda miss it, but I don’t miss Prohibition none.
When you pass the Hurley House, turn right.
The Freemans live there now.
They’re from Massachusetts (*spit*).
Before them was the Weavers.
I forget who all lived there before them,
but you know, it’s still the Hurley House.
After you get over the big hump, watch out for deer.
It’s rut time, you know, and they get spooked
by any car with “foreign” plates.
Watch for the old fire road on the right.
Turn in and keep going until you’re sure
you took the wrong turn.
Then you’ll see it:
Old Man Garvey’s double wide.
Oh, it’s the young Phil Garvey you’re looking for.
Hell, why didn’t you say so in the first place?
OK, it’s simple.
Just follow the road
to the bend in the river
and take the right fork….

© by Bill Batcher.
Used with the author’s permission.

Bill Batcher is the author of four books. A retired teacher, with a Doctorate in Education from Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, his poetry has been published in magazines, anthologies, and online collections, and has won several awards. Bill lives in Greenport, New York.







Post New Comment:
Darrell Arnold:
Robert Redford wasn't in The Bridges of Madison County. Clint Eastwood was, though.
Posted 11/15/2023 12:06 AM
Posted 11/14/2023 04:30 AM
I love the rural feel to this it reminds me of traveling to the rural midwest to visit family as a kid.
Posted 11/12/2023 07:59 PM
Lori Levy:
This is great! It was like this in Vermont where I grew up.
Posted 11/12/2023 02:57 PM
Delightful! I was never good at giving (or receiving) this sort of directions, so I love my GPS, but my GPS certainly isn't as colorful or as inviting as Bill's Rural Directions!
Posted 11/12/2023 02:12 PM
the way it is down yonder
Posted 11/12/2023 01:10 PM
Leslie Hodge:
Oh, funny! Reminds me of my grandmother, who referred to strangers as "foreigners" and when told to turn right at a crossroads, muttered "throw a rock."
Posted 11/12/2023 10:44 AM
Do the deer really recognize my Wyoming license plates?
Posted 11/12/2023 10:35 AM
I always wondered if deer got spooked by out-of-towners! Clever, humorous and original.
Posted 11/12/2023 09:25 AM
Shoshauna Shy:
Love this! Makes me want to buy one of your books!
Posted 11/12/2023 09:15 AM
Tom Sharpe:
Before cell phones, gps all those things, life was simpler, slower, better. We paid more attention to our surroundings and listened to the spoken word. Surprisingly those directions got us where we wanted to go more often than not, physically and mentally.
Posted 11/12/2023 08:50 AM
Wilda Morris:
Love this poem! It reminds me of a trip to see a cousin when I was a child. Dad was lost in the Iowa countryside, and was happy to see a man outside. He stopped and asked the man for directions. He followed those directions (which sent us on a circular route) and ended up back at the same man's house to ask for directions again.
Posted 11/12/2023 08:00 AM
Joan Luther:
Ahhhhh, country living, and better yet, country directions. Lovely stories delivered too. Thank you for sharing this!
Posted 11/12/2023 06:24 AM
This reminds me of the scene in "The Bridges of Madison County" when Robert Redford asks directions from Meryl Streep! Also, "I forget what the sign says now,/but everyone still calls it the Herkimer Road" is something my uncles would have said!
Posted 11/12/2023 06:22 AM
Alarie Tennille:
Great fun! My father grew up on a North Carolina farm in a place almost no one ever heard of. My hometown was only about an hour away, so I can remember some crazy routes my father would take. He refused to use a map because he knew how to get there. I remember one time pointing out that we had passed the same farmer, in the same plaid shirt 3 or 4 times already.
Posted 11/12/2023 05:23 AM

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