Litter, goats and County Road 48

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Sports Editor

It looks like one of those lonely country roads exclusively used by high school joy riders.

County Road 48 connects Alabama State Highway 223 with 69. It’s a barren stretch; the kind of strip you’d expect to find as you move further and further away from Troy and Brundidge.

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Taking 223 north toward Union Springs, you come to the community of Saco, home of the Saco Mini Mart and the W. Sorrell Lumber and Pulpwood Company. The Mini Mart looks as if it were built for some other reason then to be a Mini Mart. It’s a dull, white color with a grey top. There’s an old Coca-Cola sign tucked away from the building, with its Marlboro counterpart sitting upright by the Mini Mart’s entrance.

Cutting back on 48, you cross the first of three bridges, under which bubbles the brown water of a tributary to the Conecuh River. Nestled down a side road are bright green and blue houses with yellow mailboxes out front.

You’ll also see a few goats. That is, if you take the time to look for them. There’s quite a few feeding among the rotted and rusted cars of a weeded-up junkyard.

Up a slight hill, you’re confronted with the faded ruins of a house torn to the ground, slowly becoming more and more comfortable with the earth around it. A rusted tin roof twists in the background and you may wonder how many children once slept beneath it, summer raindrops tapping overhead.

There’s two lowlands completely ripped of trees, testament to the industrial savegery of Union Camp, and in contrast there’s a green pasture dotted with bails of hay.

Just prior to reaching the end of the road, there’s a sign with a picture of a litterbug, which begs: "Help Keep Pike County District 1 Clean: $500 fine for violations."

Whether some person’s idea of a joke or not, littered around the sign is trash ranging from fast food cups to empty toy cartons.

If you hit the road during the daytime you’ll pass the occasional car or lumber truck. The driver will usually give you a two-fingered wave or nod of the head. The one thing you can count on in the country is that people remain friendly.

Night is probably when all the beer cans come out.

No distinct brand name stands out in the grass alongside the road. Some drivers prefer the cheapness of Natural Light, while others admire the marketing of Budweiser.

There’s really no surprises on Highway 48. Unlike 223, 48 is basically a straight line, which means no sharp curves to send you two-wheeling around a corner.

What the road looks like it has become is a trash dump for people to chuck whatever in their car is irritating them at that moment. This is a road where someone may take that extra look in the rearview mirror and then quickly roll down the window to toss that beer can or hamburger wrapper or empty carton of cigarettes.

After all, $500 dollars is a lot to pay if you get caught.