Last Thursday, I went on a great new walk with my friend BG. It's nice and close: just across the Brandenburg bridge in Mauckport. It's a road that goes up to the little town of New Amsterdam. We took a six-mile hike that ended at a little general store, nestled in a time warp. I think BG knows everyone who lives in the tiny little town and the surrounding countryside. On the way every driver (I guess there happened to be about three cars pass us) slowed down to talk or waved at us with a smile.
As we sat down in some dry leaves on the side of the road for a snack, a camoflaged hunter emerged from the woods carrying a bow and several arrows. We said we hoped we hadn't scared off any deer he was stalking. He said, no, that he had not shot the deer in his sights, but was going to hold out for the nine-point buck he had seen, since he had more meat on him. He and his wife pretty much live off of the deer meat. That and a few squirrels.
Speaking of squirrels, on our way, we stopped to visit with ol' Paul who lives by himself on a farm. He was sawing logs at his saw mill behind back. I asked the 80-year-old if he didn't need someone to help him, holding the planks and all. He said, naw it was easier for him to do it himself. He could tell how the sawing was going by the sound, and helpers tended to drop stuff. Paul runs a beautiful orchard, with neat rows of special peach trees he has grafted and developed himself. BG says the peaches are huge and white and juicy. He has also developed a breed of walnut that is extra large and meaty. He has a sign up on his barn announcing "unconventional Stover walnuts."
And speaking of walnuts, he has a bunch of them drying on a screen just by his living room window. That's important because he has to keep an eye on the squirrels who keep trying to steal his walnuts. (The nerve!)
He told us that he saw a squirrel at his dirty deed last night, put down the top of his window, (purposely minus the screen), rested his rifle on the window frame, and got himself his dinner for the evening. Paul gave us a description of how you cook squirrel and make a delicious gravy out of the drippings. I must admit, I have never had squirrel for dinner. It is a rodent, after all. But I've a mind to try it, now.
We said hey to another neighbor on the way, Paul's nephew, I believe. Big time lawyer from Louisville, come for a little peace and quiet. He later followed us down to the general store. We were sitting with the proprietress, Faye, eating some sandwiches she had fixed for us. Faye was sitting in a rocking chair by the pot-belly stove, and there were benches around it and a sign that read " Fishermen, Hunters, and other Liars sit here." We sat jawin' for a while. BG was talking about her latest hobby of wine-making. Faye said everybody in these parts makes wine and apple brandy and such. The area used to be a huge apple growing region; grapes, too. I suspect there are a lot of private distilleries in those hills.
Like I said, I felt like I was in a time warp, sitting there in that store. Farm implements, pedal sewing machine, old tins and bottles, cast iron frying pans, posters on the wall dating from the 50's. Faye had a loom in the back, strung up for making rag rugs. I bought some homemade peach jam and apple butter that Faye had put up herself.
My mind drifted to imagining all the places I will discover on the road to Santiago: quirky little out of the way places and people, hidden jewels. Just like Faye and Paul and the itty bitty village of New Amsterdam.