??????????Thinking while driving is something of which I am excessively guilty. But it is completely legal. In fact, I wish more drivers were guilty of that. Unfortunately, they insist on doing everything they can to avoid actually paying attention to the road and the vehicles around them. Not to mention the drivers who consider traffic signs, such as “left lane for passing only,” mere suggestions and therefore they do not apply to them.

I drove to Nacogdoches last week to pick up our youngest son, J.D., from SFA. On the drive out there, I recalled a trip I made to Nashville in the late 70’s. Joel Nichols and I had just begun playing music together. Joel was going to school in Nashville and I moved out there while he finished his last year and we played music. I had to drive out to SFA and back on the same day. It wore me down. I remembered that Joel and I did not think anything about driving back and forth from Nashville – even though it’s a twelve hour drive.

The first time we drove to Nashville – Joel to return and I to move – I was following Joel in my Comet. My tailpipe had come loose and Joel rigged it with a piece of wire if I remember correctly. It was not too long into the drive before the tailpipe fell loose. Fortunately, the wire kept it from falling off completely.

I would signal Joel and pull over to the side of the road. He would pull over behind me. Then he would grab a towel he had in his car, run up, lay down under my car, shove the pipe back in and tighten the wire. I waited for Joel to get back in his car before we hit the road again.

I would be listening to my 8-track player and cruising right along. Eventually, the tailpipe would come loose again. I would turn the volume up as loud as I could. I would speed up, then slow down so I could hear the radio. When I could not stand the sound anymore, I would signal Joel. Then we would go through the process all over again.

At one point in the journey, we pulled over again as was becoming frequent. When Joel walked up to my car, he was grinning. I asked him what was funny. Joel had been listening to the CB radio in his car. I was driving the truck drivers crazy, speeding up and slowing down. I didn’t think it was so funny at the time. As far as I was concerned, I was doing what I had to do to hear the music.

We went through the process numerous times, but finally made it to Nashville. The reason we didn’t think anything about driving back and forth long distances was because we were young enough to not have anything to worry about but getting to where we were going. I was still concerned about getting where I was going when I was picking J.D. up, but I wasn’t nearly as relaxed as I was driving to Nashville that day. I enjoyed the solitary confinement in the car because it gave me time to think, but it also gave me time to think about problems and worry.

What is the point, you ask, besides just the story? And that is a legitimate question. I was wondering myself for a while. But I think I have the answer. Driving back and forth from Nacogdoches, I was thinking about what I could be doing and what I had to do. When I was driving back and forth from Nashville -as I said earlier – all I had to worry about was getting there and wondering what would happen when I got there.

Sometimes I wish the times could be like they were when Joel and I drove to Nashville. Then I wonder if anything has really changed. Then I think about what has changed. Then I think I might not really wish that at all. Then I get to where I’m going.

Peace be you.

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