Hit the Open Road

We’ll have fun, fun, fun remembering how the T-Bird took us away

August 2020

Recently, a Cooperative Living reader, Howard from Catlett, Va., sent a very nice email that cheered me up. And we all have needed some cheering up these past few months, haven’t we? There has not been much cheer to be had.

As I write this in early June, no matter what is happening in the country, I refuse to dwell on it. I am going to focus on something that might cheer you up and make you smile. After all, that is the true purpose of this column for the past 20 years or so. Gasp!

Howard sent a link to a YouTube rendition of Nat King Cole singing “Roll Out Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer.” It featured a series of photos of beaches, picnics and lovers smooching, as well as a turquoise 1967 Ford Thunderbird that we’d all probably be beside ourselves to own or ride in. It perfectly illustrated a fun, summer car.

That song took me back. I had to smile and sing along. I watched it twice and I may well watch it a third time. I desperately need to feel good. I bet you do, too. Just go on YouTube and search for it. It’s waiting for you.

It brought back memories of being piled into the family car, bouncing in the backseat with my sister. This song would come on the radio and we’d all find ourselves singing out loud. Even Mom, whose singing we always made fun of; she’d just laugh and keep singing.

Of course, Daddy would be at the wheel. As a state trooper who drove around all day, he loved nothing more than driving on vacation. Often, it would be from Virginia to Connecticut, where he grew up and where lots of relatives still lived. We did it in one day. I think it took 10 hours.

That’s quite a trek that today would take me at least two days to accomplish. But not Daddy. No, he’d be hell-bent to get there, cigar clamped in his mouth, both hands on the wheel.

Mom always packed delicious picnic lunches and homemade cookie snacks for us to eat along the way. Back then, this distressed me. I wanted to eat in a restaurant. I wanted to go into Stuckey’s, a sweets place that could be found often on the highway north. Daddy would always say, “We’ll stop there on the way back.” We never did.

Mom also was in charge of the map. It’s a good thing Daddy knew exactly where he was going because Mom was often holding the map upside down. She’d wrestle and struggle with the unwieldy thing. Once, it even blew out the window.

One longstanding family joke was the time Mom studied the map and announced, “Why don’t we stop by and see Harry and Imogene? It’s only an inch and a half out of our way!”

Nothing doing. Daddy was focused and nothing could deter him. He hated getting behind a slow or meandering car. He’d pull that old Plymouth out into the next lane and pass them in a zip. It really didn’t matter if it wasn’t a passing zone. If the way was clear, we were out there.

I hope you have a lazy, hazy, crazy day or two or three planned for this summer. I hope we’re all able to get away somewhere, if we really want to.

I don’t really want to. I’m happy at home on the screened porch with my books and walking on the wooded road, if it’s not just too darn hot.

Whatever your summer brings, I hope you enjoy it. And those lazy, hazy, crazy days bring memories that can make you smile for years.

To order Margo’s book, “A Party of One,” call 540-468-2147, Mon.-Thurs., 9-5, or email [email protected].