Words of Gold

Jeannette Buck

Anyone who reads this column is well aware that I love this place where I live and these lovely old hills. I recently had an opportunity to show them off a bit to a friend who has not always lived in this area.

We’ve planned it for a while. She came to my house, picked me up and we went to a favorite place for lunch. And then some friends came in and sat down at a nearby table. We not only had a delicious meal but enjoyed a good visit. It doesn’t get much better than that.

However on the way home I tried to tell her where some of the folks she has met in this area live; and where they grew up.

“How long do you have to spend?” I asked.

“I’m free all day,” she said with a grin.

“OK!” I said settling back in the seat. “You just keep driving and I’ll tell you where to go.” Thank goodness she has a well-developed sense of humor.

I directed her up the road we call the Rappillee and on up over the hill. She laughed when I asked her if she minded driving dirt roads. “No, this car is already dirty.”

So at the top I told her where she was and pointed left. The goldenrod is huge everywhere this year, blossoming brilliant yellow along all of the roads and into the fields. Memories kicked in and I asked my friend if she had ever had goldenrod honey. She didn’t think she had.

My grandfather harvested goldenrod honey from his bee hives every summer, and it is my absolute favorite. I’m hoping the bees are busy this year and that later on I can find some in one of the local stores to give her.

We continued along the top of the ridge. I had forgotten that the corn crop would be as tall as it is at this time of year. We had to drive a bit farther than I had thought to get to a place where it didn’t block our view.

And then, she saw it. My favorite scenery, looking out over the valley just before the road drops down from the top of the hill. It never fails to take my breath away and my friend was in awe.

“You should see it when the trees have entirely changed color” I said. She promised that we would go for another ride in a few weeks.

I pointed the way across the highway and up one more hill. Again, the view was spectacular. We talked a bit about the railroads that came through this area every day once upon a time. I pointed out the place where the Newfield Junction used to be.

It was time to go home. I promised my patient friend that another day I would show her a few more of these old ridges.

Yes, there is nothing I enjoy much more than showing off the beauty of this place I call home. I can only imagine how it must have appeared to those very first settlers. No highways then, just a path through the ancient forests and dreams and possibilities.

Sometimes I wonder how they had the courage to stick it out and build the communities that became their homes — and eventually mine.

But, Oh say! I’m so glad they did.

Jeannette Buck is a lifelong resident of the Gold area who, since listening to her Grandma Williams’ stories as a child, has been deeply interested in local lore and history.