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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Tuesday, August 7 2001

Family travel

Most of my life, my travels have been family related...both in the sense of "traveling with the family" as well as traveling to visit family members. When I was still living with my parents, our only significant trips were visits to my grown brothers and their families in Detroit and, later, Indiana state. After leaving home and while still single, and also after I had my own family in California, we always felt duty bound to take ourselves and the children to visit our parents and their grandparents in Pennsylvania rather than taking a "real" vacation. In our campus ministry years we depended on prayer and gas company credit cards to make even those trips possible (remember when your Gulf card was good at Holiday Inn, not that we ever stayed at anything that fancy!), and several of those trips were made possible by getting other people's cars to drive in both directions, going through agencies (called "drive-aways") that set up that service. We even sublet our rented house in Palo Alto for several weeks to underwrite much of the expense of that year's trip across country.

After the first significant childhood trip to Akron and outside Cleveland described last week, the next one was to Detroit to visit my brothers Tom and Bob and their families, and my father's brother, Percy and his family, all of whom had migrated from Blacklick Valley to the greener pastures of Detroit for jobs (but none of them worked in the auto industry!).

It was 1953. Dad had his first new car in my lifetime, a '53 Plymouth Concord. At the time, the Ohio Turnpike didn't yet exist, so it took us 11 hours of driving to reach Detroit. We got up at 4:30 a.m. and got underway by 5, arriving in Detroit around 4 p.m. Dad would have wanted to start at 5 a.m. even if it was a shorter trip, however.

I remember much more about that trip than I'd imagined when I started digging in this memory bed (though I can't swear that all the things recorded here occurred on that trip or even absolutely that the year was 1953...some things are best guesses).

My strongest recollections are the early rising...I'd never got up before sunrise before. My teeth chattered as we got the last-minute preparations done in the kitchen before getting underway, from a combination of excitement and chilliness. It was October, and the sun didn't rise until we were out around Butler. Mom had lectured Gary (four years older than I; I being 11 at the time) and me about not fighting on the trip, which was one of the biggest plusses of it for me. We actually had a rare day of civility.

Before daylight, Dad played the radio (possibly the first one we'd ever had in a car), tuned to a hillbilly station, probably WWVA Wheeling (we'd never heard the term "Country and Western" yet in those days), and for the only time of my life I found the twanging singing enjoyable. We made no stops to eat, and probably the only "comfort stops" were combined with refueling stops. Though I've always thought it silly that Dad always refilled his tank when he reached the halfway point (I'm often under "empty," but have often run out of gas, too, though not lately), I probably appreciated that fact on that trip even if it never registered. Instead of restaurant meals or even picnicking at roadside tables, we ate potato chips from the A&P and sandwiches Mom had made the night before, and fruit; namely, bananas as we rode on. It's hard to believe now, but at the time it was a thrill to be able to eat potato chips to my heart's content; I'm not sure I'd ever eaten them before, and am sure Mom never bought them as a snack item like we would do when we were doing our own grocery shopping.

Near Toledo, another motorist started making hand gestures to us and we finally figured out that one of the car's turn signals was on. We thought it a great courtesy on the part of that stranger to let us know...(how times have changed, or were we too naive to realize he was more annoyed than courteous!). It was the first car we'd had with electric turn signals (as opposed to through-the-window hand signals).

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Through a child's eyes

POLICE While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about six years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, "Are you a cop?" "Yes," I answered, and continued writing the report. "My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that right?" "Yes, that's right," I told her. "Well, then," she said as she extended her foot toward me, "would you please tie my shoe?"

POLICE # 2 It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. "Is that a dog you got back there?" he asked. "It sure is," I replied. Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then back at the van. Finally he said, "What'd he do?"

Sent by Sallie Covolo


The man or woman who walks with God always knows in what direction s/he is going.

Sent by Zan

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