Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Trippin' !

No, not that kind of tripping, I mean going on trips in the family vehicle. I recently saw a commercial about SUV's, showing the family taking a trip in their air-conditioned SUV, with the children safely buckled in "Captain's Swivel Chairs" and watching a DVD movie while playing with their hand held video games.

WHAT? Our family vacation, similar to Clark Griswald's family vacation, was a bit different. Our four door car had no air conditioning, power steering, power brakes or electric windows. The seat covers were some sort of abrasive material that, as I learned later on in life, can sand the skin from your elbows and knees.

We would leave at either 4:00 in the morning or when Dad got out of work, which ever was the most inconvenient. Since vacation was only one week, it was necessary to drive straight through to the destination, usually a drive of 14 to 18 hours. We stopped only to go to the bathroom and get gas. We ate in the car, sang songs and played among ourselves to pass the time.

If you were lucky, you had a coloring book and you didn't get the "hump" seat. For those of you not familiar with the hump seat (no, it was not for that,), it was the middle of the back seat where the driveshaft passed through to the rear wheels. Your feet had to straddle the "hump". This seat was reserved for my baby sister, Jeanne, unless she began to cry, at which time, my father would turn while driving and automatically smack the child occupying the second crummiest seat, that being the right rear seat usually occupied by brother, Kirt. 

I, being the oldest, normally sat right behind my father and usually was able to avoid smacks from Dad, although Mom sometimes surprised me with a left of her own. If you were lucky, my parents would let you sleep in the space under the rear window. Once you cleaned out the dead bees and wasps and assuming it wasn't 12:00 noon, you could get a tan and nap peacefully. Of course, both parents smoked and had a beer for lunch. Life was good ! 

The Pictures: The "usual suspects" and..............

This Date In History: 1884: Responding to his Republican Party hopes for his presidency, General William T. Sherman sends a telegram saying, "If nominated, I will not run; If elected, I will not serve". 1900; Novelist Stephen Crane dies of tuberculosis five years after his novel, "The Red Badge of Courage" is published. 1933; President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs legislation taking U.S. currency off the gold standard, which required all paper money and coin to be redeemable in gold. 1968; Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan at the Calfornia Democratic convention in Los Angeles.

Birthdays: Adam Smith, philosopher and economist (1723), Francisco "Pancho" Villa, Mexican revolutionary leader (1877), John Maynard Keynes, British economist (1883).

The Hits Just Keep On Coming:      S T A T E   M O T T O S 

Alabama: Hell yes, we've got electricity. Alaska: 12,736 Eskimos can't be wrong. Arizona: Yes, but it's a dry heat. Arkansas: Literacy ain't everything. California: By thirty, our women have more plastic than your Honda. Colorado: If you don't ski, don't bother. Connecticut: Like Massachusetts, only smaller. Florida: Ask us about our voting skills. Georgia: We put the fun in extreme fundamentalism. Hawaii: Thanks to Al Sharpton, We can't call Don Ho. Indiana: Two billion years tidal wave free. Iowa: We do amazing things with corn. Kentucky: 5 million people, 15 last names. Louisiana: We're not all Al Sharpton's relatives and drunken cajun wackos, but that's our motto. Mississippi: Come visit us and feel better about you state. 

That's it for today, my little back seat riders. More States Tomorrow !

Stay Tuned !  


bamawmn46 said...

gee jimmy.... we must have gone on the same vacation trails together.... and yes, i do remember the hump seat.... for us, it was the dividing line between my sister and myself. We were NOT to cross it in any way, shape or form... yeah, right.. like that really worked!! I can't imagine how we survived, can you??  LOL

jtbeanster said...

WOW Jim!  Now I know why I walk funny.  Must have been that stupid hump I had to sit on.  Oh well.  And I didn't even get credit for the state mottos.  You know, if mom were still alive, I would run and tell on you.  lol...  I sure enjoy reading your column every day.  Ever thought of working for El Nuevo Herald???
love ya

rdautumnsage said...

That's exactly how I remember family vacations. My parents station wagon had those slippery vinyln seats, if it was hot you where glued to them, if it was cold, God help you nothing could warm you up, the heat never made it to the back seat.
(Hugs) Indigo