Driving lost on rural roads in the dark and rain


By Cindy Beamon
Albemarle Life Editor

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Getting lost on a dark, rainy night in the middle of nowhere has to be one of the worst feelings.

Last week, I drove to Dances Bay in Nixonton to interview neighbors about their fantastic light display.

The lights on a dark, gloomy night were definitely worth the drive. Part of what makes the blinking color so attractive is the darkness all around. With no street lights nearby, the holiday lights look even brighter.

My spirit lifted when arriving at the grand show -- even though the rain was falling on a cold, dreary night.

I found Dances Bay easily enough but made a wrong turn out of the neighborhood that set me down an unfamiliar path. Once, I thought I found my way out of the labyrinth when I hit a dead end and had to turn around. It did not help that drivers, familiar with the route, were trying to nudge me to speed up while I scanned road signs.

I told my story to a friend, who told me about her experience that tops any stories I've heard about getting lost.

She was 18 and driving to visit a friend in Texas when she took a wrong turn. She steered for hours down an unfamiliar, desolate road, not knowing whether to turn back or keep going. Little did she know that she was heading toward the Mexican border.

After seeing no one on the road for mile after mile, she spotted a highway patrolman and purposely drove like a crazy person to get his attention. When he stopped her, she hopped out of her car and gave him a hug the first chance she had.

After a sobriety test and many questions, she finally convinced the officer she was utterly and totally lost.

Most people can relate to being lost at some point in their lives. Maybe that's why the "Amazing Grace" has such broad appeal.

The song first published in 1779 landed near the top of the iTunes chart this month after contestant Brooke Simpson sang it on Dec. 4 for The Voice. Simpson is a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe from Halifax County in northeastern North Carolina.

"I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see," has to be one of the most familiar lyrics of all time.

The song was written by English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton after he was caught at sea in a violent storm off the coast of Ireland. Newton was a slave trader who called out to God during his distress and several years later, left seafaring to study Christianity.

My situation was not nearly as dire, but just the same, I called out to God while driving the dark roads in Nixonton. I just kept driving straight, unsure of what direction I was heading. I had not resorted to trying my cell phone yet, but having that lifeline offered some comfort.

Eventually, I spotted a store, and the worker there assured me I was heading toward Elizabeth City. Miraculously, I ended up on Weeksville Road and sighed relief when I spotted the Coast Guard base and knew where I was at last.