Friday, July 2, 2010

He IS the roadmaster

"Pink sky in the morning, sailor take warning. Pink sky at night, sailor's delight." Colleen and Ian recited the old wives' tale as the family flivver pulled into the Regional Transportation Center in Syracuse. "There's just a small chance they may call me up, before you get home, to go into the Marines," said Master Ian. Mrs. Hall teared up and tried to be brave. "Give me a hug now then, and call me if you hear anything. If there is any chance of a choice, PLEASE wait til I get home!" They hugged the living stuffing out of each other, gave the kids the final instructions for watching the animals, and by 10:30 pm, the Halls were away, off with the rails and speeding to Chicago for cocktails and fun and the romance of the road. As they were pulling out of the station, Colleen reached over, and smearing some lipstick on her finger, had traced a little heart on the window of their seat. The Amtrak train left the station in the dark, but by morning's light, Mrs. Hall could still see the little heart, following them across the countryside as they whizzed along the rails, and it cheered her to think of Colleen's heart coming along with them. It seemed like no time before they were freshening up and mingling with the crowds heading for the Taste of Chicago downtown.

Long before the big black car, Mr. Hall drove a red Buick LeSabre. While he would be the first one to admit that nothing creates an impression like the sight of a gleaming black, spanking clean Cadillac, shined to a faretheewell and purring like a kitten, pulling up under the canopy of the club; every once in a while, his thoughts return to gliding over the roads in his old Buick. So when the Halls arrived at Union Station in Chicago Tuesday morning and retrieved their rental, the sight of a shiny new red Buick LaCrosse nearly brought tears to his eyes. "I know you asked for the usual full size, but they upgraded you to a luxury," remarked the attendant, as he handed him the keys. Mr. Hall slid into the driver's seat and closed his eyes. He pressed the automatic ignition, listened approvingly to the purr, took a deep breath and announced, "Contact!" "Roger, that," replied Mrs. H. "Coming up on V-1," she said, and they set a flightplan for the suburbs and the home of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Pranitis, host and hostess extraordinaire. It has been a subject of great admiration for some time amongst the Halls that so much conversation and catching-up can occur over the span of so few hours at the same time they are cranking out copious treats and spectacular meals. Mrs. Pranitis had baked up a birthday cake for Mrs. Hall and they were treated to a fabulous dinner as well. The evening flew by way too fast; in no time at all, it was morning again and the Halls bid them adieu. "Be careful!" called out Mrs. Pranitis, as they pulled out of the driveway. "Watch out for the crazies!" It was her usual mantra; gas prices were down and holiday temps were up- a sure recipe for crowded roads and harrowing highways. But Mr. H. was not to be denied; the open road lay ahead and there were sights to be seen and miles to be covered- the siren of the Interstates was beckoning him on.
Next stop: Indianapolis, the Speedway and ghosts of long ago. Stay tuned!

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