The most unusual thing that ever happened to me when traveling in a car was the time we traveled from our home in the Washington, D.C. area to Parris Island, South Carolina. Many of you may automatically assume that someone we knew was graduating from Marine Corp boot camp, and you’d be correct. My brother joined the Marines during the Viet Nam ‘conflict’ as he knew he’d be drafted and wanted the best training he felt he could receive.
We left for the trip late one evening. My sister drove her little Mustang, my mother riding shot-gun,(she said she got car sick but because she always road in front, we never knew if she ever got over it).My father , who grew up in North Carolina was guiding the way from the back seat, next to me. If you don’t know the geography, this necessitated driving the full length of Virginia, down the entire coast of North Carolina, along the edge to the bottom of South Carolina, right near the border of Georgia. It was a long, dark drive.
About halfway through, my sister mentioned that she had been seeing a light up ahead for some time, but we didn’t seem to be getting any closer to it. She had let it go, but now, it was really strange to her. We asked where, she pointed it out. She was afraid it was something supernatural, or extraterrestrial. My father pooh-poohed it; we all focused in on it and we continued down the otherwise-empty highway. We watched, it was weird. My mother worried; my sister was afraid to go on. “Slow down,” my father told her; my sister did. “Now speed back up”. He ‘advised’ her to do both, several times. She’d slow down, the light seemed to slow down; she’d speed up, the light approached more quickly. Finally, even my father got nervous; he leaned over the front seats between my mother and sister. “Wait a minute now….wait a minute, now; slow way down. I think we might need to ….” And then, he laughed! He laughed until he cried. My mother and sister yelled, “What? What is it?” When he caught his breath, he said, “Can’t you see? There are two lights, it’s a truck up ahead! This Tidewater is so flat, we could see it coming for who-knows-how-many miles.” My mother was confused.” My father went on:”His lights were so far, they looked like one. He kept a steady speed so when we slowed down, it looked like the lights did; when we sped up, the lights seemed to come faster”.
I laughed, but my mother and sister were more relieved than amused, and the story was told many times after we got home.