Last week I was at my parents’ house. The boy was out playing with his cousin and I said I wish they’d come back to the house. I don’t like to be out after dark. I can’t drive over 45, and the cars behind me don’t seem to like it. 

I do try to go 55 if another car comes along, but it seems like going the speed limit just isn’t good enough for people anymore. If the speed limit is 55 you need to crank it up to 65 at least, and if the limit is 65 nothing under 80 seems all that acceptable. Whether it’s real or not, I feel a certain level of aggression from drivers who are either passing me or stuck behind me impatiently waiting for that solid yellow line to break. (Don’t get me started on vehicles with the bright white headlights that blind the bejeezus out of me.)

I don’t know why I choose a life of turtle speed when the rest of the world seems to be kicking it into turbo. 

It’s not just the cars that go too fast. It seems like the whole world is changing all too rapidly, and I’m holding on tight wanting things to just stay the same. 

The go-getters of the world are always screaming “change, change, change, growth, growth, growth. Bigger is better, and more is the best.” But why? What’s so bad about some things just staying the same?

I used to go to Jones Valley quite a bit in my twenties. It’s where my friends and I would go to the movies and I worked over there for a little while. Back then, there was still some plain old undeveloped land out that way, but in the decade, maybe a little more, between now and then the green pastures had to make way for million dollar houses and more shopping centers. Always more shopping centers. 

The same thing is happening here. I can’t even remember what John T. Reid Parkway looked like a year or two ago, but I can well imagine what it will look like in a year or two from now. I haven’t enjoyed passing all the bulldozing and the building this year much at all.

I know this is what progress looks like to man, but I’m sure there are other people who think like me out there.

I have a deep and unrelenting fear that in my lifetime places like my old home of Limrock or the lovely Paint Rock Valley will have their beauty ripped out from under them and little subdivided neighborhoods will pop up with their uniformly built houses that have no yards. 

I’m not an old hippie — although minus the drugs and such I might would have been one if I’d been around in the 60s. But sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in that Bellamy Brothers song, and I don’t know whether to hang on to the old or grab on to the new. One thing is for sure … I ain’t trying to change nobody. I’m just trying real hard to adjust. 

Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at

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