The nearest town to our farm of any size is Tahlequah, which is about twenty miles away, and when we make a run into town, we take one way, or sometimes the other way, too often without exploring the dirt roads and blacktops that create the maze in between. They are out of the way and take longer, so in our haste they get overlooked.
A year or so ago we’d been to town and in a moment of wanderlust I turned on a road I hadn’t taken before. After a couple of miles it turned opposite the direction of home, the name changed to “Grandview Road”, and I wondered how much we’d be inconvenienced by my curiosity. Within a mile of gravel road, however, the detour paid a dividend. Three large male peacocks strutted across the road in front of us, trailing their plumage along the gravel. Travel magic happened on our way home, just by not doing things the way we usually do.
Denise soon began working on a peacock colorway, which she called “Grandview Road”.
Recently we had an afternoon to kill, ran to Tahlequah for a few supplies, and because nothing was begging for our attention at home we decided to wander a bit. We found ourselves on Grandview Road, and set off to find the peacocks again. We drove slowly, waving faster drivers on by, checking out likely farms. We spotted an older couple out stringing Christmas lights on their house, and in the backyard were…could it be…wait…no…turkeys. We rolled on another couple of miles to where the road changed names. We decided to spin around and and ask the couple. Before we got back to them, though, we spotted three male peacocks strutting around a barnyard.
As we pulled in the drive a man came out to meet us. Dressed in denim shirt and jeans, and wearing a camouflage ball cap, he introduced himself as Raymond and said that, yes, he was the peacock guy. I asked if I could take a picture of his birds, but as we approached they scurried away towards his barn. “They don’t much like strangers,” Raymond said. I was surprised to watch them flap themselves up to a gate and then into the barn. “Oh, sure…they can fly. They’ll fly all the way over that pond if a coyote gets near,” Raymond said, “’Course the coyotes run off once I start shooting at ‘em.”
We explained our interest in his birds and about the silk yarns called Grandview Road. Raymond said he had something he’d like to gives us. He went inside his home and came out with a bouquet of peacock feathers. “They shed ‘em in the summer. I pick ‘em up as long as they haven’t been rained on. They stay pretty like this if you don’t run over ‘em with the lawnmower.”
“So, those feathers the birds have now that I was impressed with…those aren’t impressive?” I asked.
“No…those are nothing. They’ve just started to grow their feathers again.”
We said goodbye and before Denise maneuvered the feathers into the back seat, I got a photo in the fading autumn sun. The peacocks waited in the barn for privacy, and Raymond went back inside to his football game.
As we made our way home we were thankful for our renewed interest in roads not often taken and for the generosity of strangers.