With a nostalgic heart yearning for
values I witnessed in my childhood, I
want to share a story from radio
broadcaster Paul Harvey. Mr. Harvey was
a commentator known for “The Rest Of the
Story.” Years ago, Harvey addressed this
in a most beautiful way with a broadcast
entitled “Dirt Roads.”
“What’s mainly wrong with society today
is that too many dirt roads have been
paved. There’s not a problem in America
today — crime, drugs, education,
divorce, delinquency — that would not be
remedied, if we just had more dirt
roads, because dirt roads give
People who live at the end of dirt roads
learn early on that life is a bumpy
ride. That it can jar you right down to
your teeth sometimes, but it’s worth it,
if at the end is a home with a loving
spouse, happy kids and a dog.
We would not have near the trouble with
our educational system if our kids got
their exercise walking a dirt road with
other kids, from whom they learn how to
There was less crime in our streets
before they were paved. Criminals did
not walk two dusty miles to rob or rape,
if they knew they would be welcomed by
five barking dogs and a double-barrel
shotgun. And there were no drive-by
Our values were better when our roads
People did not worship their cars more
than their kids, and motorists were more
courteous: they did not tailgate by
riding the bumper or the guy in front
would choke you with dust and bust your
windshield with rocks.
Dirt roads taught patience.
Dirt Roads were environmentally
friendly, you did not hop in your car
for a quart of milk, you walked to the
barn for your milk. For your mail, you
walked to the mail box.
What if it rained and the dirt road got
washed out? That was the best part, then
you stayed home and had some family
time, roasted marshmallows and popped
popcorn and pony rode on daddy’s
shoulders and learned how to make
prettier quilts than anybody.
At the end of dirt roads, you soon
learned bad words tasted like soap.
Most paved roads lead to trouble; dirt
roads more likely lead to a fishing
creek or a swimming hole. At the end of
a dirt road, the only time we even
locked our car was in August, because if
we did not some neighbor would fill it
with too much zucchini.
At the end of a dirt road, there was
always extra springtime income, from
when city dudes would get stuck, you
would have to hitch up a team and pull
them out. Usually you got a dollar;
always you got a new friend — at the end
of a dirt road.”
I hope this will cause you to recall
your childhood; mostly I hope it will
cause you to recall values.
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