A House by the Side of the Road

Here are some photos that have captivated me since the day I took them.  They are not the highest quality, just taken with an old 35mm camera in 1999 and scanned in 2008.  It probably does not mean much to you, but I walked down this road probably over a dozen times.  There was just this feeling every time I walked down this road I shall not soon forget.  Nothing miraculous happened on this stretch, at least that I recognize in mortality.

This stretch of highway is called Moss Road heading north outside of Cadishead, England.  This picture is facing south between the bridge crossing over the M62 and Woolden Road.  I still remember it as if I were there yesterday.  I was also able to locate the buildings in the picture on Google maps and with the street view see how things have changed in 12 years.  Even in the distance I can see a new house has been built, but the road looks much the same.  The other photo from Woolden Road of this amazing little farmhouse that was a blast from the past.  I am posting that picture a little further down.  It is a shot of the farmhouse from the brook (near Glazebrook Lane).  Click on the picture to see it better.

At the time of this photograph, I was companions with Elder Jose Hernandez of Benidorm, Spain.  I have not had contact with him since the time we served together.  We did teach a number of people on the street about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  One of them, the Richley Family, I have memories with and still wonder about.  Since we had a number of teaching appointments on the street, we would ride the bus the 45 minutes or so to Cadishead from Patricroft and teach these good people.  One lived about a mile off the bus route, and the rest about another mile out.  We walked this street at least once a week for several months.

We walked this street during the month of August, which is probably the hottest month in England.  With our Dr. Martens and the heat, it was a bit of a trek in the heat.  But the friendliness of the people on this little street is what I remember.  One lady we stopped at her house to ask for a drink and she invited us in to share some fizzy pop with us and shoot the breeze.  She was overly nice but made sure we understood her husband would not be quite as welcoming and we should probably not return for a teaching appointment, but any time we needed a drink, we were welcome.  She sent us on our way with a liter of lemonade in my backpack.

Years later I stumbled upon a poem by Sam Walter Foss that returned me to my memories of this little road and the house on Woolden Road.  Little Moss Road’s residents were nice to us, just as I imagine Cadishead was to those passing on the old Manchester Ship Canal that runs just south of town.

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the peace of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by–
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban;
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears–
Both parts of an infinite plan;
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead,
And mountains of wearisome height,
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
and Weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by–
There are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish–so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?–
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.


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