Posted by: Jamie Stamm | April 9, 2008

Taking the scenic route

Sometimes it amazes me how observant – and thoughtful – children can be.

We live in the rapidly growing town of Apex, and on our way home from Sanford this evening, we got routed off U.S. 1 due to an accident. Had it been one exit earlier, I would have known exactly where I was, but this off-ramp led me somewhere completely foreign. Rather than backtracking the five miles to the exit I was familiar with, the kids and I decided it would be fun to be “explorers” (maybe not the best idea on a day when I paid $3.28 a gallon for gas, but …). So we went off our beaten path into rural Wake County.

On our 20-minute “detour,” we passed dozens of trees dripping with wisteria, pastures filled with cows and goats (drawing “moos” and bleats from the backseat), a yard filled with chickens and ducks (again triggering sound effects from the rear, as well as request for chickens at our house) and lots of seemingly free-roaming, barking dogs, who were probably wondering about all the traffic that was snaking its way through their normally peaceful neighborhood.

After miles of admiring farmhouses and older brick homes that actually had some acreage surrounding them, we saw our first subdivision.

And then another.

And then another.

As we reached an intersection with N.C. 55, and I was finally able to get my bearings, my 2-year-old pointed to a construction site and inquired, “What house is that, Mama?”

“That’s not a house,” I replied. “That’s going to be a new Harris Teeter.”

“Why do we need a new Harris Teeter?” my 5-year-old asked, a hint of disgust in her voice. “We already have enough.”

“Yes, we do,” I agreed, noting to myself that, from our house, we can reach three different Harris Teeters in less than 10 minutes – and a fourth is being built (right across from a Lowes Foods, nonetheless) that might be even closer.

The animated conversation we had been having as we drove past farm animals and homes that actually had some character came to a halt as we re-emerged onto a road flanked with fast-food restaurants, strip malls and convenience stores, which eventually led us back to U.S. 1.

It might cost a little more, and it might take a little longer. But after today, I think that every now and then, my kids and I just might take the scenic route.

It’s good for the soul.

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