If you’ve been reading Meanwhile, at the Manse for any length of time you’ll know that one of the great pleasures of life in Hastings County for Raymond and me is our rambling drives down the highways, and most especially the byways – that is, the back roads – of this out-of-the-way place. From the verdant farmland of the southern part of the county to the wild, rocky beauty of “North of (Highway) 7,” where Queensborough is located, we enjoy discovering new landscapes and new clues to the remarkable history of our neck of the woods.
We’ve driven up and down a lot of those roads, but there are so many more to discover. That said, the fine weather is when one should do that discovering, and now is definitely not the fine weather – at least, if my drive home from work tonight through blowing snow and slippery roads is any indication. So as we await the fine weather, we watch the road signs and collect names of roads we’d like to drive down, to discover what lies there.
And there are some interesting road names, let me tell you! To give just a couple of examples: there is Lost Channel Road, off Highway 37 between Belleville and Tweed, whose sign is atop this post. Why “Lost Channel”? What is that? Is the “lost channel” a waterway? What would one find if one drove down that road? All very mysterious.
And what about Dutch Girl Road, which runs west off Highway 62 between Madoc and Belleville? How on earth did that road get its name? Who was the “Dutch girl?” (And will a drive down the road answer those questions? Only experience will tell.)
So many roads. So many roads.
Which leads me down another road, actually. So Many Roads is the name of a sadly gorgeous (or, depending on how you look at it, gorgeously sad) song by the Grateful Dead. That (in case you didn’t know, which seems unlikely) is a very famous San Francisco band of the 1960s, ’70s and (since they refused to quit and their fans refused to let them) also the ’80s and ’90s. In my early teenage years when I lived here at the Manse I knew absolutely nothing of the Grateful Dead, save their name; we only had AM radio (CJBQ, Belleville and Trenton), and the Grateful Dead was most definitely an FM band.
But thanks to the great blog From Offshore by Ted Spurling, a lobster fisherman who lives and works on an island off the coast of Maine, a while back I discovered the Grateful Dead singing So Many Roads. Ted has steered me to some pretty cool stuff, including a photo of the Southern Cross that I used here in a post about my father and me. But for So Many Roads I really owe him. Here is his post about it.
Toward the end of the very long song So Many Roads (remember, the Dead were known for rambling guitar solos and drum solos and whatnot) the late great Jerry Garcia sings, “So many roads I know/All I want is one to take me home.”
People, I have gone down a lot of roads since July 1975 when my family moved away from Queensborough and the Manse. Roads in Canada and America and Europe and even some obscure parts of the South Pacific. And really all I wanted was, like Jerry, one to take me home.
And there was one. And it did. And on this Friday night I am home, in Queensborough, with Raymond. (Who is a good sport.) So it all worked out.
Okay, Jerry, you have the stage. Take it away: