Convoy

Convoy: (n) the protection provided by an escort.

I will offer my one and single lamentation to you at this time:

I do not know what the value is of living so long that you have numerous experiences, delightful stories, and even warnings to share that nobody in the present age wishes to hear—because anything that has happened more than seven years ago is classified with the dinosaurs.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So if you’re a writer, or boldly call yourself an author, you must take into consideration that the present batch of readers have the foresight and vision of Mr. Magoo, who, by the way, they would not be familiar with.

Yet today, when I saw the word convoy, I was reminded of a time in the 1970’s, when our country was experiencing gasoline shortages. You had to actually think about when to purchase fuel, because the next location to get some might be far away.

There were practices of taking the last numbers on your license plate, and if it was an odd digit you could get gas on a certain day, and even numbers on other days.

In the midst of this slight rationing, it was conceived by intelligent men and women in Washington, D.C. that a great way to save fuel was to create a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour. (I know some of you young’uns may be giggling, but this actually happened.)

Now, I cannot tell you how tedious a 500-mile journey was if you followed the letter of the law and drove 55 miles per hour. Yet there were highway patrolmen all over the place picking people up, and even creating road blocks, to trap those who dared to exceed the “double-nickels.”

The whole era was eventually brought down by truck drivers, who clumped together in large convoys, sometimes ten miles in length, driving 70 miles an hour, challenging the authorities to pick them up en masse.

Just as Prohibition was eventually repealed due to fondness of spirits, the 55 mile per hour speed limit was very soon embedded deeply in our history as a folly of the foolish.

But it took a convoy.

It always takes a convoy.

Your one vote does not stop an onslaught of stupidity. Get together with your friends. Line up ten miles deep—and see how quickly the government lets you speed on.


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CB

CB: (n) The Citizen’s Band (CB) Radio Service

The joy of getting older is in accumulating numerous stories you can share via your daily blog.

Yet the first danger of getting older is that younger folks who have no connection with your subject matter suddenly become aware that
you’re ancient.

And of course, the second danger of getting older is obviously that you are nearer to death than you are to high school.

Bravely facing this danger, I will tell you that I was around during the time that gasoline was rationed in this country–in the mid-1970’s–and the speed limit was dropped to 55 miles per hour. At that point, the highways became the Wild West. Truck drivers who communicated with one another through CB radio began to rebel against the laws and drive whatever speed they desired by placing themselves in large convoys, so as to complicate the enforcement by the State Highway Patrol. In other words, it’s a little difficult to stop forty trucks going 75 miles per hour by waving your hand with your radar gun.

So to counteract these highwaymen, the police set up road blocks and pulled over large numbers of trucks, giving them tickets.

Our little traveling band of gypsy musicians did not have a CB radio–but we did squeeze ourselves into these convoys and travel down the highway with our own rendition of “need for speed.”

But one night we got caught in a roadblock, and were pulled over. We sat there at least an hour. Finally a patrolman walked up and told us we could go. I was shocked. I was also young and stupid, so I asked him why.

He said that even though he knew we were driving the same speed as the trucks, the radar didn’t reach us, and therefore he could not confirm that we were actually speeding.

We pulled away, delighted, surprised and somewhat convicted–as truck drivers glared at us with bullets of anger.

We spent the rest of the night driving 55 miles an hour since we didn’t have our convoy, and had no bread to purchase a CB radio.

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