Not far from our store in Kidron, a friend of mine has a sprawling potato farm. To bring in some extra cash, he runs a fun corn maze. For some reason, I’ve been fascinated by mazes since I was a child. There’s something immensely rewarding about winding your way successfully through to the other side. It takes one good choice after another, reasoning your way to victory and keeping your bearing around one corner after another.
Last year, I was out at the farm talking with the Ramseyers. I noticed that the road past their place has an odd little jog in it.
The Ramseyer’s farm is located along Ohio State Route 585 (also known as Akron Road). It follows an old Indian trail in pretty much a straight line, cutting from northeast to southwest Ohio at about a 45 degree angle. So, why does it take an odd detour in the middle of the flat plains surrounding the Ramseyer farm?
The story I heard was handed down through the five generations of Ramseyer’s that have farmed this land. Apparently, when the surveyors laid out the road back in the 1800’s, one local resident didn’t like the path they were following. It was a little too close (or, depending on which version of the story you hear, a little too far) from his house.
So, he offered the surveyor a bottle of whiskey to reroute the road in a more pleasing way!
Back in the day when most folks traveled by horse or slow train, that little curve didn’t seem like a big deal. In those days, some folks believed that at speeds in excess of 30 mph you could get spontaneous nose bleeds.
These days, with cars speeding by at five and 10 miles over the 55 mph speed limit, it’s another story. That little curve has resulted in dozens of accidents and the death of a small child. All this, thanks to a thoughtless choice by a surveyor who was willing to bend the rules (and the road) for a bottle of whiskey.
With the end of the first decade of the 21st century under our belts and 2010 with its already fading New Year’s Resolutions staring us in the face, it’s a good time to think about what kinds of choices we are making. Forgotten New Year’s Resolutions or not, the start of any year and especially a new decade a great time for making fresh choices.
Because I’ve never been able to keep my New Year’s Resolutions, I don’t often make them. Instead, I’ve tried to make every day choices in the wisest way I can, day in and day out. I’ve not always been successful at that either, but it’s on my mind constantly. I believe that keeping my long-term goals in the forefront and trying to structure decisions on my core values has helped me become a better person.
Whether making New Year’s Resolution or daily choices, let us make them thoughtfully rather than thoughtlessly. And, may we always keep the road straight!