My grandmother used to do her laundry on a washboard before she got a wringer washing machine in the 1950s. A washboard is a rectangular board with a corrugated metallic surface and clothes are rubbed across the surface during the cleaning process. The utensil has little corrugated waves to better clean your clothes.

Around our house we have washboard roads in many places.  Rains, running water and fluctuating hot and cold temperatures have caused lots of potholes and our roads are rough beyond comprehension. 

Little waves have been made in the road by passing vehicles, rain, dirt and just overall extended use.  Each little wave is a bump and it will darn near shake you to death. The slower you go the worse it is.

The other morning I headed down one of those corroded washboard roads and it rattled my teeth.

"I could stand a smoother road without pot holes and washed ridges," I muttered to myself.  Suddenly, I rounded a curve and hit another road the oil field and solar windmill crews had been using and the transition was amazing. 

They had watered and graded the caliche until it was smooth and almost like glass.  It was amazing how a little attention and care had transformed the road.  It was still caliche but the maintained road was much better than my highly neglected rural ranch road.

It reminds me of our travels through life. More times than not we bounce along on our little washboard journey and it gets really rough. It can be quite miserable and we wonder when it will end.  Other times we top out on a smooth, well maintained road or maybe even the interstate and the travel is sublime and quite enjoyable.

You never know when you will be facing a rough washboard road. You can suffice to say life isn't always a four-lane highway.  I think we tend to appreciate the black top more after we have been down a few washboard roads.  Maybe we need some of those washboard roads to help us realize just how nice pavement can be.

 It doesn’t matter if it is washboard roads, muddy roads or pure luxurious interstate travel life is going to be a combination of things.  Some of it will be easy and some of it will be darn near impassible. Each road is a new direction, a new set of circumstances and a new set of trials and tests.  Each road may be a curve, straight or winding and definitely littered with challenges and struggles.

I know the roads around my area need some maintenance.  I’ve seen road crews here and about and the resurfacing and filling in of potholes makes a big difference in the kind of travel one experiences.  We all need a little roadwork on occasion.  There is a big difference in those washboard roads and a well-maintained smooth surface.

I cannot imagine washing on a washboard. Then again, I’m not much into rough washboard roads with huge pot holes either.

The good thing is we never travel alone no matter what kind of road it is.  There is a helper in our midst and he wants to guide us along in our travels. It’s good to know my potholes are repairable.  Let God be your pilot. Let him help you handle the bumps and the curves. There will always be potholes and washboard roads in our travels.

Leaning on someone tends to make our washboard roads a little smoother, a little more bearable and maybe a little more understandable.

Invite God along on your travels. He tends to make those bumpy washboard roads more tolerable. By the way, a road crew is in transit and God handles that as well. 

Melinda Clements is an E-T community columnist. She can be reached at