Monday, August 13, 2007

Pony Brown

Every since I was a youngster listening to the radio, sitting in the backseat of my parent's Plymouth with the tail fins reading street signs and road markers, I have felt the call of the road not taken. I fell in love with the song Seven Bridges Road by the Eagles:

Sometimes there's a part of me
Has to turn from here and go...
Running like a child from these warm stars
Down the Seven Bridges Road.

And I've always been intrigued by roads with secretive or enticing names. Which is why I love going up to Ione so much, taking the old Jackson Highway out of Sacramento. I get to go past places like Sloughhouse Road. Eagles Nest Road. Stone House Road. I swear I'm going to turn down Stone House Road someday and see if I can find the Stone House itself: This is the California Central Valley, there's nary a stone in sight, much less a House built from them!

It's a slow meander past gravel pits, industrial-sized marble and tile storage yards and huge back-lots for the local large nursery: Mini forests of potted palms dotting a field. Once past the populated areas, and finally beyond the upscale snooty golf course and gated living of Murietta Springs, the land opens up into the beginnings of the Sierra Foothills.

It's then that I turn down Ione Road, and it's then that I turn off the radio and spend the next 30 minutes just thinking and observing.

Those gorgeous California Oaks dot the gold hills, and for as far as the eye can see is nothing but rolling prairie and the occasional cow. It's lovely. I think you might go mad living out in that much wide-open-space, but it's so pretty to drive through on my way somewhere else.
Halfway down Ione Road is an intriguing sign at a dirt road: Brown Ranches. I always think, Wow! Those Browns don't just have ONE humungous Ranch, they have Several! More than One! A Couple! A Few! Enough to make it PLURAL on their sign. So then I just figure that all their offspring got their own ranch, but they all share property lines and therefore they became the Brown Ranches. Since Brown is a family name, I often imagine they are long-lost cousins who came West when the rest of my kin was arming with Kentucky Long Rifles and preparing to fight the War of Northern Aggression.
And my favorite road of all, is the one named Pony Brown Road. Not "Brown Pony Road" Which would of course make perfect sense and have been named after a brown pony. No, this is Pony Brown, which then makes me imagine that Pony, one of the siblings of the Ranches Brown, got his/her own road named after him/her for being such a character. Or a good sport. Or something unique.
I always dream that I'll just turn down Pony Brown Road and go meet him/her. If he's a guy, then he'll be grizzled, old, with a pump in his front yard and a tin can propped on it so that anyone passing through can stop and drink from his well. Chickens will be free-ranging all over the place and at night they will roost in the bed of a rusted old 1937 Ford Pick-Up truck with the engine missing and the tires shot out by other Young Browns. He'll have a big pickle jar stuffed with horehound drops that he shares liberally, and another one stuffed with loose change which he intends to turn into the bank one day and buy a trip to Paris with the proceeds.
If it's a She-Pony, then she will have an herb garden behind little wrought iron gates, wear an apron and a housedress, and her screened in front porch will smell like the sugar cookies she's baking for company. I'll pull right up to the front door, and come and sit a spell on the porch swing, drining iced tea with a sprig of mint and swapping life stories. I'll be home, at least for that moment. Down Pony Brown Road.


Janet said...

I enjoyed this trip down Pony Brown Road. Your descriptions are great....I could just see the grizzled old guy or the woman waiting on her porch. Makes me want to take a long, leisurely drive someplace quiet.

PEA said...

Now that's the kind of drive I love making...such beautiful scenery you have over there!! You've got me fascinated with Pony Brown Road...don't you just wish you could close your eyes and find yourself part of that family who lives there?? Thank you so much for your kind words of sympathy on the death of my SIL. You don't know how much it means to me to know you're all here for me!! xox