Let’s Go for a Drive
I can still remember the smell of that new car. It was a Friday afternoon when our dad pulled into our driveway, surprising us with a shiny new car: a 1956 Holiday Oldsmobile. Long and sleek. White leather seats. Tapered fins. Standard white-wall tires.
We were excited, but dinnertime was dinnertime, firm and punctual. And Saturdays were work-around-the-house days. Could we wait for Sunday? After a Sunday dinner of homemade pasta, roasted chicken, a garden salad, topped off with Mom's sponge cake for dessert, we would clear the table, do the dishes, then change from our Sunday best. I was in my green corduroy slacks and a brown crew neck sweater with a white peter-pan collar peeking through when I heard, "Let's go for a drive."
Sign of the Times
Life felt easy on those Sunday drives with no clear destination in mind. New communities were popping up like mushrooms, so we often drove to see the new and expensive houses going up. We heard there was a $30,000 house being built. We had to see that kind of extravagance! The Olds hummed along, and we felt life was as easy as the well-oiled engine. But life wasn't always so easy for my parents' generation who knew sacrifice up close and personal. They lived through the Great Depression followed by the anguish of World War II. After our dads, the lucky ones, returned from the war, America went to work, strengthening a country and rebuilding families. GI homes were built for poor families such as ours. New roads and bridges meant more blue-collar jobs with higher wages. Soon America was humming along. The 1956 two-tone-green Oldsmobile that appeared in our driveway that Friday afternoon, seemed to steer us straight into middle-class America.
Steering Straight Through Hard Times
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing; it is about steering. — Gilda Radner
Lighthouses don’t go running all over looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining and we steer life toward them. – Anne Lamott
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ------Psalm 110: 105
Sunday Afternoon: Where did your family go on those Sunday drives? I remember one Sunday afternoon when my little brother Larry and I drove to Batso State Forest in the pinelands of Southern New Jersy, just to see what we might discover. After parking the car, we continued on foot and came across centuries old footings, skeletons of what was once an army garrison, constructed during the Revolutionary War. Now, swallowed almost entirely by the forest floor, the scars of war found their healing amid new growth. Life itself is victorious. -----G. Hill
See also: Gentle on My Mind