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Friday, September 2, 2011

Between You, Me and the Fence Post

     Come closer so I can tell you a secret ... promise you won't tell anyone? The early-morning sun is to the color orange as Bridget Bardot was to 1960s sex symbols: A bit on the overachieving side, if you know what I mean.

     I took this photo today on Route EE, a curvy, paved road through pasture, horse farms and hilly terrain. The road connects Route H (the locals call it H Highway, which is also what I tend to call it, except when I'm writing in Newspaperese) with Highway 210  to the south.

     When I'm saddled up and ridin' hard behind the keyboard, I'm sworn to uphold and protect the tenets of the Associated Press Stylebook, which has very definite ways to write everything.

     Normal people, i.e. people who haven't come under the spell of AP style, refer to Highway 210 as 210 Highway or, simply, 210. In AP-speak, Highways are numbered roads and Routes are those interesting curvy roads with letters for names. 

     When the roads get really small, as in the case of EE, they get two letters; when they get downright tiny, they're called county roads (for example, CR 287). Beyond that, gravel roads might have names or might not, but no one knows what they are or uses them. It's as if the roads were named just for Google's benefit. 

     I was exposed to this when I was wandering around south of Orrick, looking for a low-lying area of river bottom where members of the levee district were working to reinforce levees. I'd ask someone where such and such a road was, and the typical response would be something like "it's just over that hill by Wollard's, up a bit from the old Teegarden place."

      You know, up in there. And that's if you can see anything with six-foot-tall corn growing everywhere.

     It all makes perfect sense if you live and work "up in there" and only go "into town" for, you know, "stuff". Ford F-150s and Dodge Ram pickups with diesel engines have replaced pack horses and wagons, but that's about it for big changes here in God's Country. 

     In this part of the world, the only real status symbols are a new John Deere combine or having a paved road in front of your place; that, and maybe an autographed photo of Bridget Bardot that the wife hasn't thrown out.

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