Random Thoughts while Driving in Waco

By Jack Smith

Jack can be reached at jwsmith2@flash.net

We recently had the great opportunity to travel to Europe for a cruise, mostly around Scotland and Ireland. We had a great time with good friends, saw some beautiful sights and ate a lot of delicious food.

I have had some health issues, and Vicki decided that it would be a good idea to request wheel chair assistance for me at the airports so that I wouldn’t have to walk so far. It is a great service. They meet you at the plane and efficiently take you to the next gate or baggage or wherever you need to go. I recommend it. I did, however, feel guilty. I could have walked. I felt that I wasn’t that incapacitated. So, I thought I might write a story about the experience. I would title it “The Invalid Invalid.”

In 12 days in Europe, besides the ship, we rode trains, buses and taxies but never saw a pickup truck. Don’t know what’s wrong with those people. Everyone was very nice everywhere we went except for one taxi driver whose name was Jolly. He wasn’t.

While riding a train, there was a recorded announcement made at each stop. Sometimes the distance between the train and the landing was different, so you had to watch your step. The announcement, in very proper English, said “Please mind the gap when alighting this train.” I think that was the first time I had ever “alighted” from anything, but I didn’t mind minding the gap.

The Scottish legal system has three options for the jury to determine: guilty, not guilty or not proven. The last one means that they were probably guilty, but it wasn’t proven and they get off. This became known as scot-free. So now you know.

While walking around a small Scottish town, we went into a neighborhood grocery store. The only American products I saw were Budweiser, Coors and M&M Mars products. I wondered if the Skittles were made in Waco.

On the ship there was entertainment each night. One night Scottish music was featured and another night Irish music. I got to wondering if the cruise were in the U.S., what would American music be? Folk? Rock? Country? Jazz? Blues? Classical? Rap? Probably not classical, but most of the others are American music. It would be a long show. It could be wrapped up with rap.

As a lifelong Presbyterian, I looked forward to being in Scotland, our birthplace. On Sunday we had the opportunity to visit a Church of Scotland church (Presbyterian). We got there a little late for the service but had the opportunity to visit with the pastor. He said that the beautiful church was 160 years old and everything was original except the pews. He said in the 1970s the congregation decided their pews were too uncomfortable to sleep in, so new ones were purchased.

As opposed to our last trip, each of our flights (on American) was on time. We had some long wait times, and I thought that airports might have movie theaters for those with a five- or six-hour layover.

You may have seen that miniature horses are now allowed on airlines as service animals. I don’t know how many miniature horse service animals there are, but it can’t be many and hopefully all of them are potty trained. Being politically correct, sizeism, like ageism, is wrong, so maybe full-sized horses will be next. Stewardesses (flight attendants) could offer peanuts, pretzels or hay.

IF I WERE KING: Europe would have more pickups, and America would have more passenger trains.