Drive down Bradley Road takes Norma McLeod

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

to the days of her youth

By Jaine Treadwell The Messenger

Norma McLeod didn't grow up on Bradley Road, but a drive through the natural tunnel formed by a canopy of trees takes her back to the time of her youth. Back to the time when life was lived at a slow pace. Back to the time when people stopped to smell the roses. Back to the time when Sunday afternoon drives were tradition, when front porches were welcome stations and when neighbors were family and friends.

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McLeod said she doesn't long for the old days - just their ways.

"This is one of the most beautiful places you can find," she said, standing beneath the canopy of trees. "Everybody around Goshen knows it as Bradley Road. Now, it's numbered County Road 2236. I see the need for that, but to me this is and always will be Bradley Road."

And, when McLeod wants to take a step back in time, she just travels Bradley Road.

"This is the kind of road that people would go miles out of their way to see," she said. "I don't think many people in Pike County even know about it. That's why it's such a quiet, peaceful place to come."

McLeod pointed to trees that line the dirt road and the rusting hog wire that once fenced in the cows that roamed the pastures on either side.

"Back year ago, people planted trees to use as fence posts," she said. "These were probably planted for that reason."

Growing fence posts was a good idea. Trees don't rot; fence posts do. Trees are strong and sturdy. Fence posts give way to time, critters and man.

"A tree makes the prettiest fence post you can have," McLeod said. "And, they give you shade. Cows like to find the shade on a hot summer day. Tree posts were a good idea."

For McLeod, the dirt road brings back memories of mud pies, toadstools and sandcastles.

"Children used to play in the sand," she said. "Sand just like this. There was nothing that we would rather do than find a shady, sandy place to play. I like coming here. It reminds me of back when I was growing up."

There are more than 350 miles of dirt roads in Pike County. McLeod has traveled many of them, but there's not one that is prettier than Bradley Road.

If people still took Sunday afternoon drives, there would be enough "scenic" roads in Pike County to keep them entertained for quite a while.

"We need to slow down enough to find the beauty along these dirt roads," McLeod said. "You'd be surprised at what you can see."

McLeod is a member of the Banks Town Council. She promotes her town every chance she gets.

There aren't many tourist attractions around Goshen. Other than Bradley Road and the jailhouse where Hank Williams stayed overnight and wrote a song titled, "The One-Eyed Sheriff of Goshen," there's not much to bring tourists around. Maybe Goshen residents like to keep it that way. Those who live in Goshen like the friendliness and closeness of a close-knit community.

They like to stop by Rodgers Grocery on Thursday nights to see what's cooking on the grill. They hang around at the co-op and swap stories at the diner. They meet at the new senior center and bump into each other at the post office. That's the way life is in Goshen.

And sometimes they gather for a night of fellowship at the other end of Bradley Road.

"Once a year, we have a little get together at the cabin and I look forward to that," McLeod said. "The last Saturday in October, I open up the cabin and anybody is welcome to come. We all bring something good to eat to share and we just sit around and visit like they used to do."

The cabin was built from lumber from old barns and houses that had been torn down. McLeod's son, James, did most of the work.

"It's a modest house, but it's more than a house," she said. "It's a place to come and get away from the hurried lives we lead. We need to slow down a bit and enjoy each other. I can't think of a better place to do that than right here."

And, there's no way better way to take a trip back to yesterday than along a byway that the folks around Goshen call Bradley Road.