My daughter and I took this saying, “Time to hit the road”, a little too literally recently with a road trip that encompassed 3000 miles of “road hitting” over ten days. Yikes! It all started with a short jaunt (3.5 hrs) down the road to see my son perform as an unexpected understudy in a community theater production of “Inherit the Wind”. He did a great job with only seven days to learn his lines and rehearse.
Then we were back up the same road to drop off hubby before heading on the intended trek to sunny Florida and my in-laws! Talk about perfect timing. When we left the Midwest it was mid sixty’s and sunny. The very next day, the temps dropped thirty degrees and it was rainy/snowy/freezing rain the whole time we were gone.
Florida, on the other hand, had been cooler temps in the weeks before we got there. But the day we arrived it was a toasty 85 degrees with sunny skies and low humidity. The whole week was that way. We did not complain.
I thought I would have plenty of time for writing here and in my book, but I underestimated just how much time 3000 miles takes, along with visiting long lost relatives, site seeing and beach combing. Next time I will know to work ahead and utilize publishing schedules.
With all those road miles I did ponder various road sayings and recalled one that has led to a renewed appreciation for an old, but insightful poem. Read on…
Hit the Road: We take this idiom for granted as meaning to start a journey or to start traveling, but I am wondering when people started using this phrase in this way. I haven’t had much luck in finding the answer. But, I will keep looking and wonder if any of you know.
Hit the Road Jack: This was a #1 hit in 1961 song by Ray Charles and written by Percy Mayfield. I bet you’re singing it now, aren’t you. “Hit the road Jack. And don’t you come back no more, no more”
The Road Less Traveled: This means, “the unconventional or univestigated option” and comes from the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. I probably studied this poem in some high school English class, but the title didn’t ring a bell, so I looked it up. It’s very profound. Not surprising for Frost. Here it is so you don’t have to look it up.
From Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, 1920:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Mr. Frost, I must say that I too have taken the “one less traveled by” and am so glad I did!