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Faces on Faith: Back Seat Observations

February 5, 2014
By REV. DR. JOHN H. DANNER ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

My father was a rather frugal man. True to his Scottish heritage, you might say. Thrifty, careful. OK -cheap. In his prime he loved to save a buck. I don't think he ever bought a stitch of clothing that wasn't on a clearance rack, so he often had things that were rather strange colors, or slightly out of style. And, in a day long before calling plans and cell phones with hundreds of minutes, a long distance call at our house required filling out a three-part requisition form.

OK - I exaggerate, but not by much. The truth is, he did watch his pennies.

When it came to buying a new car, something I remember happening only twice in my eighteen years living at home, he would shop and compare and dicker until he got the lowest possible price. Car salesmen (they were all men back then) would cave just to get rid of him! And the car he got was always the cheapest model, stripped down to the bare essentials.

Article Photos

Rev. Dr. John H. Danner. PHOTO PROVIDED.

One of the cars I especially remembered was the 1950-something baby-blue, pushbutton Rambler. (If you can remember American Motors, you've been an adult for a few decades at least. If you remember Ramblers, your hair is probably the same color as mine. And if you call them Nash Ramblers - well, let's just say I probably refer to you as "sir" or "madam!")

Anyway, we had that old Rambler, with its big fins and copious chrome trim, for years. And every week or so we'd all pile in - Mom and Dad in the front, and my two brothers, my sister and me jammed in the back. And off we'd go.

There was always a lot of pushing and kicking. You know, "Mom! Bob punched me!" "Dad! John breathed on me!" That would go on until one of the adults would say "Quiet! All of you!" And then we'd settle down for at least a few minutes.

Usually we didn't know exactly where we were going. I'm not sure Mom or Dad did either. But knowing our father we suspected it would probably involve ice cream. And unless the pushing and kicking and breathing had gotten completely out of hand, we often ended up with sugar cones - never cake, the Danners were sugar cone people to the core - sugar cones topped with vanilla or chocolate chip, or, in my case, peppermint stick. You know the kind? With the little pink and green bits of candy and a minty taste to clean your breath for month?

I wish I could say we enjoyed those rides. I wish I could say we enjoyed the time together or appreciated the scenery, but the truth is, until we got to the ice cream stand, we were mighty restless.

Today, I've come to a new appreciation of the car trip itself. Today, I've come to realize that as much fun as it is to eat an ice cream cone, it is really all about the journey. Not just on the highway, but more importantly, on the road called life.

I wonder what it would be like to go get ice cream today with my siblings in the back seat?



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