I'm not sure who Staley Ford was named for, but it was the kind of ford that provides a way across a stream. Specifically in this case, a concrete slab that spanned a large, deep creek, creating a surface for vehicles to drive across. Depending on how much rainfall we'd had, it might be barely below the surface or as much as a foot down. In either case, the area on both sides was several feet deep and formed a natural swimming area.
We would seldom have the place to ourselves since it was a popular location, but that was OK — there was room for everybody. And in case you're wondering, the thought of skinny-dipping would not have even occurred to these conservative country folks. We wore shorts or cut-offs, and had a ball playing in the water or running across the ford and diving in. Of course, we had to watch for the occasional car passing across, but that wasn't a problem since they already knew they had to drive slowly — a fast trip across a ford was asking for car trouble.
But let's get back to sassafras. Ironically, the essence of the bark and roots, which was used for years as flavoring for a lot of things - including root beer - was banned as a food additive in the 1970s. It turns out that there's a component that can cause liver cancer in rats, so when I think about all the sassafras tea I drank as a kid, and couple that with the fact my wife often calls me "the world's largest rodent", it gives me pause.
But at least I don't have to stop eating filé gumbo. The sassafras leaves do NOT contain the bad stuff, so I'll just try to think good things when I hear Hank singing about it. (For a different take on the song, watch Junior in the video below. It was made in his younger days, when he was mostly just singing daddy's songs.)