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I’m a Southern transplant, which doesn’t usually present too many problems. But one time in college, I was headed to the city of Blytheville, AR for a weekend retreat. Now, this was before the days of GPS, so all I had was my trusty road atlas. I was driving through the southern part of Missouri – no Interstates, no road signs, nothing.
Finally, I turned south and headed toward Arkansas. I thought that surely I must be getting close to Blytheville. On the Atlas, it was just across the state line! But… it kept just not showing up. I started to get nervous. Remember – I didn’t have a display to tell me how much further I had to go.
So I pulled off at a gas station to ask if I was still on the right track. “Hi, I’m supposed to be going to Blytheville. Am I getting close?”
The attendant squinted at me. “Blytheville? Never heard of it.”
I started panicking. I thought I was supposed to be within 20 miles or so. And this guy had never heard of it? Was I in Oklahoma or something? “Uh… oh no. I thought I was getting close.”
He squinted at me again and grinned. “Bluvul is just up the road about 15 minutes.”
I blinked. “Bluvul?”
He nodded once. “Yup.”
I left laughing to myself – I’d never have guessed the locals pronounced Blytheville as ‘Bluvul’, and I was grateful for an attendant who, after a little good-natured teasing, clued a Yankee boy in.
But honestly, I would have killed for a sign.
When we’re feeling lost, we wish we could wave a magic wand and just appear at our destination.