Up in the Hollow: Gid me a break

Maybe it’s just me, but I was not only bemused, but downright astonished at the screed which Paul Hagstrom wrote [“A damaging detour,” April 7] regarding his distress at having to travel the wonderful treasure that is Gid Brown Hollow Road.

When we have guests from out of town, we always take the drive through Gid Brown on our way home, and our friends are always mightily impressed by its splendors.

Apparently Mr. Hagstrom missed all of those picture-postcard views while fearing for the future of his car and doubting his chances of living through the trip to 211 and back. No wonder he is so grateful and appreciative for the completion of the new Harris Hollow bridge. Maybe we ought to name it after him.

He speaks of “the dire, pathetic, and unsafe condition of Gid Brown Hollow” and tells us that “the ruts, furrows, and potholes result in the road being dangerous and difficult to navigate. Some sections have only one passable lane with no warning signs. Other sections are a shamble of dirt, gravel, and debris.”

I’m not making this up, y’all. He goes on to tell us that “the section . . . leading up to Harris Hollow may be safe for use by tractors, farm vehicles, heavy duty trucks or military vehicles, but certainly not passenger vehicles.”

And get a load of this: “I hope the county is prepared to pay for damages to vehicles that have sustained tire or alignment damage caused by the necessity of navigating Gid Brown Hollow.” Mr. Hagstrom, have you ever heard of a town in Alabama they call Fat Chance?

Now we all have our cultural differences, but this is world-class “come here” behavior. You know, how folks will move to a new environment and complain about how it lacks the amenities of dear ol’ Scranton or Perth Amboy? How there is no decent Indian cuisine or Chinese delivery? How people wave at you from pickup trucks like they know you? How all these “locals’ talk funny? Et cetera, ad nauseum. And no matter how tolerant you are, there is that gnawing urge to suggest that they return to where things were so much better.

Memo to Paul Hagstrom: Somehow the rest of us here have managed to get around these back- country rural roads without any problems, and have enjoyed the journey. And all of the folks I know who live in Gid Brown Hollow are fine with the way things are. I reckon they are glad that all those SUVs that have been barreling along through there can now return to Harris Hollow Road.

Gid Brown Hollow contains all the different lifestyles and cultures of Rappahannock, and I feel sorry that its residents have had to suffer through this recent onslaught of new drivers, some of whom apparently shouldn’t be driving anything more complex than a golf cart on an empty parking lot.

And the new bridge? Well, nobody wants to fall into the Rush River, but this is a whole lot more bridge than the road needs. This bridge is a monster, and built to last.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this bridge doesn’t last for tens of thousands of years after the end of Western civilization and long past the end of life on the planet. A million years from now, visitors from a distant galaxy will visit Earth and find only this bridge remaining. “Fellow Furbittzers,” their leader will say, “this ancient civilization didn’t have much between the ears, but they sure as hell could build a bridge!”

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1 Comment

  1. Mr. Jones has expressed better than I ever could the bemused (amused?) astonishment I felt when I read Mr. Hagstrom’s letter. I wonder if I need to get Farm Tags for my Smart car, which somehow (despite its diminutive size, 3-cylinder engine and low riding) had no problem whatsoever navigating “the ruts, furrows and potholes” that make the road “very dangerous and difficult to navigate.” But even in my Ford station wagon I was able to — quite well, thank you very much! — handle “some sections [that] have only one passable lane with no warning signs” as well as those “other sections [that] are a shamble of dirt, gravel and debris.” Even when there was traffic in the other direction!

    And though I am extremely glad the bridge is operating again, I enjoyed visiting through Gid Brown for a few weeks.

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