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On the Road with Edith, Jasmine, and Betty

Do you know that we now have a teenage driver in the house? Last year Lydia was in driver’s education at Central Campus. Many of us can recall taking driver’s education. Mr. David Binkley was my teacher; he was also my neighbor. He was the type of teacher who studied a student and realized the importance of having knowledge of the student’s background, his home and family relationships, and even his view of the world.

Mr. Binkley was an effective teacher who understood the student’s concept of self, their purposes, values and goals. He knew my desire to learn to drive was not to merely cruise around Underwood, but rather to aid my parents in their business and to be independent in case I needed to make a last-minute run to the store for baking powder. I can recall the big smile he had when he asked me about getting a car of my own. I simply replied that until college that would not be necessary and maybe even not then. As it turned out, I received my first car as a sophomore in college; it was purchased from our pastor – a 1970 tan, 98 Oldsmobile, 4-door luxury hardtop with a rocket 455 V-8. The trunk was so huge that I could transport my 10-speed bike without taking it apart! How fun it would be to still have this super cruiser that sported such a smooth ride, deluxe interior and fender skirts.

Everyone has different desires to attain their driver’s license. Lydia was recently asked by her former driver’s ed teacher if she had gotten her driver’s license. She responded with a big “yes!” Lydia has mentioned that an occasional cruise around the Magic City would be in order; however, getting to orchestra practice and making a quick run to the grocery store would perhaps be the more ideal use of this tremendous privilege. As a parent, you must smile when some of your more favorable traits trickle down to your child.

We work together, play together, and travel together with our automobiles. In fact, we spend a fair amount of time in our vehicles. We can say that at times we are peerless partners. In our homes and I am sure in many other too, folks often name their cars. As you will recall, one of Miss Lydia’s signature trademarks as a child was to name almost every appliance in our kitchen. Let us not forget Molly the Mixer. This signature style of hers naturally came forth in naming her bicycle and now her own car.

Jan and Lydia teamed up to name Jan’s deep red Jeep. First, it had to start with a “J.” Jan, Jeep-are you seeing that pattern? Jasmine was selected because they felt the name evoked an elegant yet sporty vehicle that would look at home in a park of coppery leaves and yet strong enough to head to the field on the farm. A timeless style has been the Jeep hallmark for years. When you see the grill of a Jeep, there are seven slots to represent that Jeep was the first to be driven in all seven continents. Yes, adventures begin in many places. Ours often starts from the driveway with a voice from the back saying, “Let’s go, Jasmine.”

We have long been devoted to Jeeps in our home. My 2000, tan Jeep Cherokee Classic is named Edith. The classic styling of this vehicle along with its young-at-heart feeling remind me of one of Hollywood’s greatest fashion designers, Edith Head. Her costumes for movies such as Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis Presley, and Angela Lansbury were stunning. In the movie Penelope she dressed Natalie Wood in some of the most elegant evening wear. My Jeep is not draped in whispery chiffon, bias-cut and crepe-crinkled, but is equally as graceful.

Lydia has decided to name her cool, deluxe shape 1990 blue Buick, Betty Ruth. This unbelievably well-taken-care-of car evokes a timeless style-dependable, yet fun – much like that of actress Betty White. Lydia has been a Betty White fan since she was toddler. Yes, as parents we allowed her to watch the Golden Girls where Betty White portrayed the character of Rose Nylund, a Scandinavian from St. Olaf, Minnesota. Selecting between watching cartoons or Betty White and her witty pals was easy for Lydia because she always settled for these seasoned and venturesome performers every time. We did learn at a parent teacher conference that when asked what her parents thought about her watching such a lively show, she responded by saying, “oh, they watch it with me.”

On one episode, Rose is in a dance marathon and she is not going to be out done. She not only dances with style and elegance in a flowing, pink chiffon dress but finishes her routine with an abundance of enthusiasm while performing perfect cartwheels. For the finale, she does the splits – all while wearing attractive silver dance heels! The spunk and energy she showed here has forever captured Lydia, thus the reason her car will now be called Betty. Let’s hope that this car which she received from her uncle and aunt will be a sweetheart like Betty; just as we have depended on Betty for a good laugh. May this Betty be dependable on the road for years to come. Her middle name, Ruth, is in honor of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who Lydia has admired and has been the subject of several inspiring writing assignments.

Being true to Betty White, I should have selected one of her recipes when she played the fictional character of Sue Ann Nivens, a skilled cooking show hostess on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. However, I went to my box of discarded recipes that I have picked up at rummage sales. This recipe comes from Inez, and she wrote that is an excellent and easy salad. I do not know Inez, but I will agree that this is a good and easy salad. I sure that Betty White as Rose would agree this salad would have been a winner at the St. Olaf Church potluck.

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