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Seven Miles

My friends in high school described where I grew up as seven miles past the edge of the earth. When I took my boyfriend-now-husband home to meet my parents for the first time he wondered aloud if I was just dropping him off in the middle of nowhere to see if he could find his way back to Manhattan. I laughed and assured him I wasn’t, but I did hear a sigh of relief from the passenger seat when we pulled in the driveway.

It’s technically only three miles off the blacktop but it’s those other four miles that have been a problem from time to time.

One of those times was my senior prom. The actual count of miles to my house is three miles north, two miles east and two miles north. I gave those exact directions to my date, who was a very smart kid but maybe a little too smart this time. He was running late. Late enough that it was making me nervous. My parents had fun good naturedly suggesting he was standing me up as time continued to pass. It turns out, he wasn’t lost he just thought he knew how to get to my house better than I did.

As he found out, there’s a reason we don’t say go five miles north and two east. The main reason is that the fifth-mile road doesn’t go all the way through the section and you end up going back south a mile before you can go the last mile north. The second reason is if we’ve gotten any rain that fifth-mile road is a mess. It follows the rolling contours of the land and the part closest to my house just happens to be at the bottom of the hill. When I say it’s a mess, I mean it is boggy and just plain hard to get down. Locals won’t even take it until it hasn’t rained for a week or two because it takes so long for it to dry out.

Unfortunately, my prom date wasn’t privy to this knowledge. My parents had quit teasing me and were working out by our machine shed when their seed salesman stopped by the house that afternoon. He got to see me in all my prom finery including hair, makeup, and dress before my date did.

When my date finally showed up, he readily admitted his mistake. We weren’t so late that we missed any of the festivities and his truck was only a little muddy. Thankfully he was country kid too so he knew how to drive in mud.



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