Archived Story

A guide to driving in a car to Florida

Published 10:04am Thursday, August 30, 2012

Column: Thanks for Listening

Here are the things I thought about while on a long drive to Florida.

• Our ancestors were not all that innovative with naming things, I thought in my head as I drove to Florida to bring my daughter to college. I must have crossed at least 20 creeks or streams on the way down south, but only three names for all of them. It is crazy to think that Big Creek, Long Creek and Muddy Creek were the only names that our brilliant historic relatives could come up with. But I really do not recall seeing another name.

I am pretty sure it was we male folk who did the naming. We are pretty lazy when we don’t want to do something. And I can see us hunting and farming and then when someone asked us what the name of some creek was, we just mailed it in. “Um, looks like a big creek. Yes, yes that is the name.”

We then rattled off the other two original names of muddy and long and called it a day. We men then were so happy with our three names that I assume we bragged about them to all of our other male relatives over libations and venison steaks from deer we caught with our bare hands.

The male ancestors who we bragged to then went back to their plot of land they called home and guess what? Yep. They stole those three creek names thus starting off the original pyramid scheme in our young country’s history.

Now please do not think that I am insulting any women by assuming men named the creeks; I just know that if it was up to women, we would have had much more original names that included colors and variety.

• “Do you want a Mountain Dew?” the young lady asked as we sat down at a Waffle House in Georgia.

My reply was no, as it was 8 a.m. I asked if they had apple juice, and then she handed me a menu. I have heard of Waffle Houses before, but never had a chance to actually stop at one. I was not aware that you could order steak or pork steak with such abundance. I had a bowl of oatmeal and some grits. I had grits years ago and forgot how they tasted and so since I was down South, I ordered grits. Grits are a bit like a really bland Malt-O-Meal. I am not a huge fan of grits.

Maybe it was not all that weird to ask for a Mountain Dew so early as I did order coffee as well, but it just seemed odd to start an 8 a.m. order that way. This waitress was very funny as she kept saying in a very Southern accent (insert the best imitation of southern accent here), “You shore do have a funny accent,” and, “Where you from again?”

When I mentioned Minnesota, she looked at me like I traveled to the Waffle House from 1978 and then said, “It cold up dare?” It is funny how traveling into other states you can see and hear how different people really are, but humor is pretty universal and this lady had good humor so we had a great meal and visit with her.

• When planning a 24-hour trip over a few days, I knew that I needed a few things to occupy my ears and keep me awake on this trip. An iPod or as I like to call it, the greatest invention ever, was perfect for this task.

I had a couple of books loaded on my iPod for this trip, but to do a road trip correctly you need to make a song list and name this wonderful song list. Being a man with such innovation and brilliance, I thought I would name my playlist “Florida.” (Insert heaven opening up and harps playing here.) This list had all the songs that to me make a road trip complete. The list included the following songs:

1. “Fun, Fun, Fun” by the Beach Boys.

2. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by the Beatles.

3. “Roll Me Away” by Bob Seger.

4. “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi.

5. “Springsteen” by Eric Church.

6. “Shake It Up” by The Cars.

7. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem

8. “Crazy” by  Gnarls Barkley

9. “Welcome To The Jungle” by Guns and Roses.

10. “Get Rhythm” by Johnny Cash

As well as Rihanna, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Kid Rock and many others. What songs get you pumped up?

• So my daughter is now moved in and in her second week of college in Winter Park, Fla. I am super proud of her as she gets to start her budding music career.

Visiting Florida was fun, but it was a minimum of 103 degrees with high humidity every day when I was there and this is why I love Minnesota — and fall.


Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.