JIM DAVIS: Family Trips Will Make You Stronger
One of the nice things families do together is take trips.
This may mean plane trips where you're sandwiched in between total strangers, train trips where you're always three hours behind schedule, or trips in the family car, where the person squeezed in next to you is a close relative.
If a family can survive a long car trip where the children threaten bodily harm to one another, or where Mother and Dad are on the verge of divorce about whose fault it was that the last turnoff was missed, or why that bathroom break is way overdue, the family unit will usually emerge the stronger for it.
One of the first trips we took as a family was in 1939, when I was nine. We took a train to New York to attend the World's Fair. This was our first trip in a Pullman, and I remember clambering into my upper berth and not sleeping a wink.
From the fair itself, I remember the Perisphere and Trylon, Billy Rose's Aquacade, and from Ripley's exhibit, I remember The Cuban Eye Popper, a gentleman from Havana who made everyone sick by causing his eyeballs to pop out of his head and then back in. Honest.
When I was 16 or so, we took a car trip to the Adirondacks. Our destination was about 400 miles away. My father decreed that he, my brother, and I would share the driving, and that he (my father) would take the first leg. My brother and I settled in for what we thought would be about a four-hour ride until the first switch of drivers would take place.
Dad drove to Lewistown, a distance of maybe 30 miles, where he announced that his share of the driving was finished and it was now my turn. My brother and I split the next 370 miles, and on the return trip the two of us drove the whole way, without a word from Dad.
My dad took my older brother, a couple of our friends, and me to a doubleheader in Pittsburgh against the St. Louis Cardinals one Sunday in 1947. Baseball fans of a certain age may remember a gentleman named Rosey Rowswell. He was the broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates on radio station KDKA from 1936 to 1954, and he was a character. He held forth during home games from a little booth up under the girders of old Forbes Field.
In those days, few broadcasters made road trips, but they re-created the away games using a Western Union ticker. One of Rosey's specialties would occur when a Pirate hit a home run. He would yell, "Get in out of the garden, Aunt Minnie, get upstairs and raise the window, here it comes!" Then there would be a huge crash of breaking glass, tin cans clattering, and various other rattles and bangs, after which Rosey would say, "She never made it. She tripped over the garden hose." He had other endearing little routines, and we Pirate fans loved him and his craziness.
Somehow my father got us into Rosey Rowswell's booth, and we got to watch the great man do his thing for an inning or so. Rosey even announced to the radio audience that we were there, which was a big thrill for my mother, listening at home in Huntingdon.
I think that was the most memorable trip my dad ever thought up, and I loved him for it. It rained during the second game, and I was wearing a cotton corduroy sport coat. When the rain stopped, the coat had shrunk to the size of a T-shirt. The game was canceled, but I did get to see Stan Musial, Ralph Kiner, and Hank Greenberg play.
Excuse me, but I have to go now. All this talk about trips has given me the urge. I think I'll load up the family and drive somewhere.
Jim Davis is a Pinehurst freelance writer. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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