Suppose I were to ask you how many times you’ve been sitting around over at your place feeling bored and someone said, “Hey! I know what we can do! Let’s go for a drive!”
I’m willing to bet that unless you are mighty old your answer would be, “Are you kidding! Who wants to get in a car and just drive?”
However, back when I was a kid people just loved hopping into the car and going for a drive. Where to? It didn’t really matter. Just getting in the car and going somewhere was a treat.
Compare that to today.
For example, if you live in Pine or Strawberry how much do you love the drive into Payson and back? Please don’t answer that question. I’ve heard enough cursing to last me a lifetime!
On the other hand, I still look back with a warm feeling to the first “long distance” drive of my life. It happened when I was just 8.
I didn’t learn until much later why he did it, but for a few years after Daddy passed away my Uncle Charlie would drive over on some Sundays, pick up Mom and take her somewhere. He did it so she could put flowers on Daddy’s grave.
And so one Sunday I found myself enjoying the breeze in the rumble seat of a highly polished 1935 Ford coupe. We stopped somewhere while Mom did something, and then off we went again, zipping along Staten Island’s Hylan Boulevard to Tottenville, 31 miles away at the opposite end of the island.
Once there we stopped at a little seaside place where Mom bought me a big bottle of Pepsi-Cola and two hot dogs with sauerkraut and mustard. I tell you, I sat there in that rumble seat on the way home, eating, drinking and feeling like a king.
Even during the war when gasoline was rationed we still went for drives on weekends whenever we could. We had an “A” ration card, only good for three gallons of gas a week, but all of it went into our 1934 Packard for weekend drives. And can you believe it? Pop Johnson, my stepfather, was such a straight arrow that even though he ran a gas station we didn’t get a spoonful of extra gas. Instead, he walked to work each day and saved our gas ration for an occasional weekend drive.
Where did we go? Nowhere in particular. It was the going that counted, not the destination.
The same was true when Lolly and I were over in England in the 1970s. We often jumped into our little American-built Corvair with its air-cooled engine and went for a drive “somewhere.” Actually, “somewhere” can be quite interesting in a place like England because you can hardly drive 25 miles without stumbling upon something historic or passing through some very scenic countryside. I will admit, though, that we filled up with American 31-cent a gallon gas on the base, not with $1.45 British petrol.
While we were living in the Oxfordshire village of Cropredy I actually enjoyed the 20-mile drive to RAF Upper Heyford each day as I passed through the villages of Bodicote, Adderbury, Deddington and Somerton where the homes were built of weathered Cotswold stone. It was like a drive through history.
On the other hand, I do not enjoy my weekly shopping expedition from Pine to Payson and back again.
I keep worrying that I’m going to suddenly become history.