Don’t Pass Me By


What a lovely day for a drive, she is thinking. It’s a cloudless summer afternoon, and she is on her way home from her pinochle club’s covered dish luncheon. She blinks into the sunlight and smiles. Has Lenora Whipple’s beer-battered cod left her just a little tipsy?

She noses her gold Chrysler New Yorker onto Robinson-ville Road.  Her son calls her car the Queen Mary, and she always laughs, but not for the reason he thinks. He doesn’t know that he was conceived on the actual Queen Mary in 1946, when she and her husband took that trip to England. Oh, how she loved England. So quaint. Especially the way they drive on the left side of the road. Occasionally, just for fun, she eases the New Yorker across the center line for awhile, just to relive that wonderful time.

She sees you in her rear view mirror. My, so close! She sees you waving. She slows down to wave back. A good Delaware wave. Now you’re waving faster. Oh, do you want her to speed up a bit? Well, she’d honestly love to, but see that sign? Forty-five miles an hour. So sorry! But here, she’ll put her left-hand blinker on to show you it’s okay to pass.

Here comes Jimtown Road on the right. That name always makes her smile. So friendly. Like everyone in town is named Jim. Hi Jim! Hello Jim! How’s your wife Jim and all the little Jims? Jim Dandy, Jim! My word, Jimtown Road has been closed for monthsnow. What in the world are they doing there? She slows down to get a good look.

Now you’re honking. Oh, she’s so sorry! Were you confused because she had her left-hand blinker on and then pulled over to the right?

Here’s a nice straightaway. She notices you easing to the left to pass, and begins to feel guilty for going so slow. She hits the gas. Hello, Fifty! But wait — here comes a chicken truck. She hits the brakes, which she always does when facing oncoming traffic. You can’t be too careful.

Look at all those poor chickens. She feels bad for them, on their way to being plucked and all. On the other hand, they seem to be enjoying the fresh air. Who knows, this may be the happiest moment of their lives. She smiles and waves at them. A big Delaware wave.

Oh my – construction ahead. There’s a nice man holding a stop sign. She rolls to a rest and gives him an extra big Delaware wave. He seems so hot under that heavy yellow vest. When he turns the sign around to “Slow,” she pulls up, stops, and hands him a bottle of water she had on the front seat. He’s so grateful. His name is Roger, and he says he’s working at this because farm jobs are becoming scarce. She suggests that he apply at the chicken plant, because they’re always hiring. But Roger likes being outside.

Oh! She was so involved with Roger she nearly forgot you were back there. You and all those other people. She waves to the workers as she carefully negotiates the left lane. Just like England!

Here comes John J. Williams Highway, named after that nice man who was our Senator. They called him Honest John.

She sees the traffic light up ahead is green, so she slows down. When the light is green, that means it’s going to turn yellow any second, and red right after that.

You’re waving again. Hello! She’s turning left here, and sees that you’re going straight, over to where they’re building all those housing developments. Yes, she knows you’re here because it’s such a lovely place to live, but my goodness, there are so many of you, and you’re filling in all the farms and clogging up all our streets.

Anyway, goodbye. She hopes you’ll remember to tell all your friends who want to move here about the day she was your Virgil and Robinson-ville Road was your own personal circle of Hell.


Published by Bill Newcott

Award-Winning Film Critic, Columnist, TV Host and Creator of AARP's Movies For Grownups, Bill writes for publications including National Geographic, The Saturday Evening Post, Delaware Beach Life, Alaska Beyond and Northwest Travel.

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