THE WAY I SEE IT: One of the blessings of living in Russell County
In Aug. 2 issue, Russell County News By Barbara Sharp Zimmerman, Columnist
After a weekend road trip to Chicago, I have a new appreciation for Russell County streets and roads - and its drivers.
This was my first time to drive in Chicago, though I have been there quite a number of times, and I have driven in quite a few big cities, such as Phoenix, Houston and Pittsburgh. But I always flew to Chicago, took a taxi, rode the train or had my daughter chauffeur me around. However, with the impending arrival of my first grandchild this fall up there, I figured it was time to learn the route through the city to my son-in-law and daughter's home, so I took off, armed with Map Quest printouts, a road atlas, instructions from my daughter and, for extra security, my not-afraid-of-any-driving-challenge son.
Right off the bat before we really even got underway, we were caught in a several-miles-long traffic jam as we headed for downtown Louisville on I-64 to pick up I-65, even though it was after morning rush hour. We crawled along, and sometimes sat parked, for about half an hour and I wondered how I had been able to put up with such silliness for the 35 years I lived in Louisville.
After that, everything was swell, though there were far more cars and trucks than I am accustomed to, all the way through Indiana, including Indianapolis, up until the time I got into Chicago traffic - and it wasn't even rush hour!
After a few miles at a crawl, the road opened up and we were suddenly driving 70 miles per hour to keep up with traffic - because if you don't they'll run over you. Then abruptly we came upon a massive stoppage, and I had to struggle - and lay down some rubber - to keep from running smack-dab into the mass of cars in front of me. Behind me, there were speeding drivers who had to do some major sideways skidding to bring their flying vehicles to a quick stop.
After that, we crawled along in wall-to-wall traffic with occasional little bursts of speed for 45 minutes or so until we got to our exit, and then the real fun began. There, drivers careen along streets so narrow that people must fold in their side-view mirrors when they park to save them from destruction. There, they do not stop for stop signs; they scarcely brake for them. My son says you just have to be as rude as everybody else to survive. There, the game of the day seems to be Run Down the Pedestrians. Bicyclists are fair game, too.
The pedestrian pursuit didn't bother me too much until we, too, needed to cross streets after finally, finally finding parking places on our excursions out to eat and shop. Then I felt like the fox the hound is always after. I also discovered that even though I'm overweight and over-old, I can still run if I have to, though it is not a pretty sight.
When I returned home to my six traffic-light county, I was highly relieved to get here. Sure, drivers still turn without signals (everybody knows they always turn there), they take their time turning even when I am in a hurry and some just love to drive about an inch from my tailpipe.
But, by and large, people around here are not as harried or nasty as they are in Chicago. They generously allow you to turn left if you've been sitting there a long time. They wave at you to go ahead and cross the street. They sometimes even forgive little driving mistakes, such as pulling out in front of them.
It was so good to get back to our sleepy little county where most drivers are not rude, you don't need to go a million miles an hour to keep from getting run over and you don't leave your life in someone else's hands each time you venture out.
What a blessing to live, and drive, in Russell County.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
404 Monument Square
Jamestown KY 42629